The Bombay High Court on Thursday further extended interim orders passed by itself as well as subordinate courts and tribunals that fall under its jurisdiction till June 30, 2021 (Court on its own motion – Suo-Motu PIL 1 of 2021).
It further directed that orders pertaining to eviction, demolition or dispossession passed by any lower courts or authorities after April 9 will be kept in abeyance as per the conditions of the previous order of April 16, 2021.
The Full Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justices AA Sayed, SS Shinde and PB Varale passed the order today in a suo motu writ petition on the extension of protection to those who are unable to access justice because of the restricted functioning of the courts effected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bench noted,
“Even though the situation has marginally improved since the previous order, the situation is still not conducive to all concerned to approach courts.”
The plea pertained to matters in which interim orders were passed by the High Court and all subordinate courts falling within its jurisdiction in Maharashtra, Goa and Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.
The Full Bench had previously directed that interim orders passed by itself as well as subordinate courts and tribunals that fall under its jurisdiction shall stand extended till May 7.
The Bench had noted that to combat “the second wave of the pandemic arising out of COVID virus”, the Maharashtra government issued an order dated April 13 titled “Break the Chain”, though which restrictions under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were imposed in the State from April 14 to May 1.
The Court observed that the measures in the order “have rendered it difficult to conduct judicial proceedings in this Court as well as the courts/tribunals in the districts/talukas in the physical presence of advocates, litigants and other stakeholders, and with the full complement of officers/staff and as an obvious consequence, access to justice has been hindered.“
The administrative committee of the High Court earlier suspended judicial proceedings of the High Court and the lower courts till April 18, 2021.