In light of the nationwide lockdown declared by the Central Government, the Delhi High Court has directed that the interim orders passed by it and also the subordinate courts, that were subsisting as on March 16 and expired, or will expire thereafter will stand automatically extended till May 15.
While taking the suo moto cognizance of the issues, a Full Bench comprising Chief Justice D N Patel, Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh ordered :
"Taking suo moto cognizance of the aforesaid extraordinary circumstances, under Article 226 & 227 of the Constitution of India, it is hereby ordered that in all matters pending before this court and courts subordinate to this court, wherein such interim orders issued were subsisting as on 16.03.2020 and expired or will expire thereafter, the same shall stand automatically extended till 15.05.2020 or until further orders, except where any orders to the contrary have been passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in any particular matter, during the intervening period"
Taking the suo moto cognizance while exercising its extraordinary jurisdiction under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, the court has passed the said direction for the interim orders passed by itself as well as by the subordinate courts.
'Needless to clarify that in case, the aforesaid extension of interim order causes any hardship of an extreme nature to a party to such proceeding, they would be at liberty to seek appropriate relief, as may be advised', the Bench noted.
The court has also directed for the said order to be uploaded on the website of this Court and be conveyed to all the Standing Counsel, UOI, GNCTD, DDA, Civic Authorities, Delhi High Court Bar Association, all the other Bar Associations of Delhi, as well as to all District Courts subordinate to this court.
While dictating the order, the court highlighted the resolution dated 13/03/20 of its Administrative Committee, which had restricted the functioning of the court only to the urgent matters.
A subsequent notification by the same committee extended the operation of the previous notification to April 4.
The court also cited the notification of the Central Government, dated 24/03/20, wherein strong measures have been enforced to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and a nationwide lockdown has been declared for a period of 21 days w.e.f. from 25.03.2020.
It was highlighted:
'In view of the lockdown in the State of Delhi and the extremely limited functioning of courts, routine matters have been adjourned en bloc to particular dates in the month of April. Thus advocates and litigants have not been in a position to appear in the said matters, including those where stay/bails/paroles have been granted by this Court or the courts subordinate to this Court, on or before 16.03.2020'.