Mumbai: HC's Nagpur bench to hold virtual hearings for week

In view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Nagpur, the local bench of the Bombay High Court will hear cases through video-conferencing between March 15 and 21.

This was informed in a notice issued by the high court registrar on Friday.

The Nagpur bench has designated some courts that will hear cases via video-conferencing during this period, it said.

The building that houses the Nagpur bench will be operational between 10.30 am and 1 pm during this period.

After 2 pm, the court building will be made available for sanitisation, the notice read.

This decision was taken in light of the further outbreak of COVID-19 in Nagpur and in order to reduce the physical presence of lawyers, litigants and court staff, the notice stated.

The court will also make alternative arrangements for those advocates and parties in person, who do not have access to the means for video-conferencing.

In December last year, all benches of the Bombay High Court and all subordinate courts in Maharashtra, except Pune, had resumed in-person hearings.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the courts had been conducting hearings online, through video interface.

The principal bench of high court in the city currently conducts physical hearings on all working days in a week.

A few designated benches conduct virtual hearings on Fridays only for such cases in which lawyers or parties are based outside Mumbai, or are unable to attend physical hearings due to specific reasons.

On Friday, 1,957 people had tested positive for the infection in Nagpur district, which took its overall case count to 1,65,989. The virus has so far claimed 4,440 lives in the district, where the number of active cases is 14,191.

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