The City Civil and Sessions Court Bar Association has planned to approach the Principal Judge of the court, expressing its reservations on the regular functioning of the court as per the new Standard Operating Procedure coming to effect from today and suggested that it be deferred at least till mid-January next year.
It has said in a letter dated 1 December, 2020, indicating 'hand-delivery' signed by its president and secretary, that in the present circumstances, its members feel that 100 per cent physical attendance in court is ‘neither advisable nor possible’.
“The COVID-19 cases are on the rise and experts have opined that the second and third wave of COVID-19 is likely to be more severe than the first wave,” the letter says, adding that it has been seen all over the world that, whenever relaxations are allowed, cases increase phenomenally and lockdown is reimposed.
The association has cited practical problems such as the restrictions on travel in trains at peak hours and most of the advocates being residents of suburbs, also advocates who are senior citizens not being allowed to travel by public transport.
The SOP had entrusted the responsibility of maintaining safety precautions in Bar Rooms, library and canteens to the Bar Association of each court. The association has said it will be ‘very difficult’ for it to do the same. It has also stated that, since its staff reside in distant suburbs and are not allowed to travel by local trains, it would be ‘impossible’ for them to attend duties regularly and thereby difficult for the association to open and maintain the bar rooms. “We sincerely feel that if bar rooms are allowed to open, it would be impossible to maintain social distance as there is shortage of space,” it said.
It has called it ‘impossible’ for the advocates and litigants to attend court, particularly in two shifts as directed in the new SOP. “As and when it becomes practical and safe for the advocates and litigants to attend the courts, the physical functioning of the courts may be started,” it said. It has sought the present arrangement to continue till mid-January or, in the alternative, courts to function in the odd-even system according to their court numbers and advocates wait in the vacant courts while their matter is yet to be called out.