Senior advocates of Bombay HC want courts to resume work as usual

The outbreak of novel Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown has compelled the Bombay High Court to limit its functioning to just two days a week and that too for two hours. But now it's time to make peace with this virus and adjust to the new normal, said senior counsels of the Bombay HC, who want the courts to now function with full strength.

The senior counsels have written a letter to Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and four senior judges of the HC, urging them to commence with the usual functioning of the HC.

In their two page letter to the CJ, the senior counsels, led by Anil Sakhre, have said since dispensation of justice is an important facet of the Constitutional framework, it is desirable for it to WOR normally and not in a fractured manner, the way it is working presently.

"The current system of hearing on video conference has its own set of problems as the technology is woefully inadequate and therefore this style of functioning will necessarily have to be revisited, the letter reads.

It also highlights the "dramatic spike" in the spread of the virus in Maharashtra and particularly in Mumbai. "It is quite uncertain as to when the situation would come under reasonable control. To further speculate, would also be unwise as truth be told nobody knows how the situation is going to unravel in the coming days," the senior counsels led by Sakhre, have said.

The advocates have further said that Mumbai will have to gradually open as per the guidelines of the government since it is the financial capital of our country.

"We will have to make peace with the disease rather than fight it. Our HC being a premier HC, has virtually come to a standstill since the implementation of the lockdown. We need to change the current way of functioning (twice a week for two hours)," the counsels have said.

"If this is the new normal, then we believe that the Bombay HC must function with its full strength keeping all the social distancing norms in mind," stated the letter signed by senior counsels including - Vijay Thorat, Prasad Dhakephalkar, Vineet Naik, AV Anturkar, Prasad Dani, Atul Damle and Vishwajeet Sawant.

Suggestions of the counsels to function normally

- Each bench to hear only 30 cases a day that too in specific time slots.

- Restricting entry of litigants, only two advocates per case be allowed inside the courtroom.

- Do away with the procedure of mentioning matters for urgent hearing, which leads to crowding in courtrooms.

- Do away with computerised system of allotting dates for cases.

- Cut short the arguments time of advocates by asking them to give one page note of their arguments.

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