K’taka HC hearings go virtual amid spike in COVID-19 cases

With rising COVID-19 cases in this tech city, the Karnataka High Court has decided to conduct hearings through video-conferencing to avoid physical gathering of the stakeholders, an official said on Wednesday.

“Physical hearing of cases before the High Court’s principal bench are cancelled from July 1 till further order for the safety of the bar members and judicial staff,” said the court’s Registrar General Rajendra Badamikar in an order here.

Urgent cases will be heard through video-conferencing by benches as notified.

“The court’s benches at Dharwad and Kalaburagi in the state’s northwest and northern region will, however, function normally as notified,” said the order.

The High Court was shut on Tuesday for sanitisation of the entire complex after a relative of a court functionary tested positive for coronavirus on Monday.

“Urgent matters of Tuesday have been listed for Wednesday and urgent cases fixed for July 1 will be heard on Thursday and Friday remotely,’ said the order.

As only urgent cases will be heard, the court advised the bar members to avoid listing those cases which can be taken up later.

“E-mail requests for listing cases will take 72 hours for processing instead of 48 hours as mentioned in the standard operating procedure of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs under COVID-induced lockdown guidelines,” said the order.

The court has also cancelled appointments for filing cases on Thursday and Friday.

“Those given appointments for physical filing of cases and rectification of objections on Monday can visit the court on Friday as per slots given. The slots for the same will be reduced from next week to avoid crowding in the court,” said the order.

The Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, scheduled to hear Public Interest Litigations (PILs) on COVID-19, has been reconstituted. Now, the Chief Justice and Justice Aravind Kumar will hear them.

“The principal bench of the high court and all other courts in Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts will remain closed on Saturday as per the guidelines under Unlock 2,” added the order.