Full Court of the Delhi High Court has resolved, by circulation to extend the existing arrangement of hearing of matters till 16th January, 2021, in wake of the rising COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The decision was taken by the Full Court which, by circulation, was to consider the further extension of the arrangement of hearing of matters by the High Court of Delhi beyond 30.11.2020.
"Considered. In view of the escalating situation of the pandemic of coronavirus (2019-nCOV) in the NCT of Delhi, it is resolved that the present system of hearing the matters before this Court shall continue upto 16.01.2021. All the pending routine/non-urgent matters listed before this Court from 01.12.2020 to 16.01.2021 be adjourned en bloc…"
Office Order of the Delhi High Court dated 23.03.2020 had directed for the complete closure of the High Court as well as the Courts subordinate thereto till 04.04.2020, particularly in view of the lockdown announced in Delhi and the request of the Bar Associations.
This was further extended by the Chief Justice of India till 15.04.2020 in light of the nationwide lockdown which had been declared by the Government of India. Consequently, in order to make of for the loss of court working hours and to ensure restoration of normalcy in the functioning of courts at the earliest, the Full Court resolved to continue functioning during the entire month of June.
With the extension of the nationwide lockdown, the Administrative and General Supervision Committee suspended the functioning of the Courts till 03.05.2020. A periodic review of the situation led to the extension of the suspension of functioning of the High Court and the subordinate courts.
In its last meeting, the Committee held that, subject to the complete availability of public transport and the situation in Delhi remaining stable, a plan would be evolved for gradual opening of physical courts from 1st September.
An SOP for Physical Functioning of Delhi High Court and SOP for Delhi District Courts was soon accepted. The same, along with suggestions from the Judges of the High Court and a report of the Delhi High Court Bar Association was to be placed before the Full Court. This SOP was approved by the Full Court, with certain modifications, and in view of the pandemic, the suspended functioning was extended till 30.09.2020.
Five Benches were ordered to start holding physical hearing of cases, on a rotational basis, while the remaining Benches would continue taking up matters through video conferencing. On 10.09.2020, the Full Court reviewed the status of physical functioning and resolved that a suitable number of Benches, for physical hearing, be constituted w.e.f. 15.09.2020.
On 07.10.2020, it was resolved that the present system of hearing would continue till 30.11.2020.