New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Bar Association has suggested slew of steps including “one entry point for each court building” and “sanitization tunnels” which can be taken in order to conduct physical hearings and make courts more functional amidst the lockdown due the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to High Court Registrar Manoj Jain, the lawyers body said, “Only one entry point be allowed per court room building. Entrants may be subjected to thermal temperature scanning. The option of making all entrants mandatorily pass through sanitisation tunnels may also be explored.”
DHCBA also suggested that while the entry to litigants and interns may not be permitted until normalcy returns, restrictions shall also be on number of Advocates representing a party. Since, lawyers are by and large, operating either from their chambers or their offices, they need to be permitted to access the chamber blocks not only to prepare their cases, but also to access their files, records, books and infrastructure. Client conferences may, however, be permitted in a restrictive manner by allowing the same only after court hours, the letter suggested further.
Public Conveniences must be maintained with the highest level of sanitization and for using these social distancing norms can be employed. Adequate number of sanitizers may be provided at various points through out the Court buildings.
“Kiosks and shops inside the Court Complexes may be kept closed. However, Cafeterias and kitchens catering to the chamber blocks may only be permitted to service lawyers only by offering ‘take away’ options,” the letter written by DHCBA President Mohit Mathur said.
“Needless to state that access to justice is the touchstone of any democratic society, the Courts are an essential part of it and do not require any declaration by the Executive to be an essential service. We believe that physical Court hearings, albeit in a phased manner, have to be commenced with meticulous and scrupulous compliance of social distancing norms, wearing of masks, maintaining the highest standards of sanitisation and hygiene etc,” it said.
Speaking to IANS over the phone, DHCBA member Abhijat said, “The limited functioning of the courts is causing losses to the general public at large. We hope that the Judges would consider our suggestions and would come out with a balanced plan soon. I would request the general population to stay home and adhere to the lockdown norms”