Delhi High Court, District Courts to Continue Virtual Hearing Till February 11

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The Delhi High Court has said that it would continue hearing cases through the virtual mode till February 11. According to an office order dated January 12, the district courts would also hear matters only through the video conferencing mode till then. “In continuation of this court’s office order dated 30.12.2021, as directed by Hon’ble the Chief Justice, the existing system of hearing of cases in this court [including the courts of Registrar and Joint Registrar (Judicial)] as well as in the district courts in Delhi shall continue till 11.02.2022,” the latest order said.

On December 30, the high court – which resumed physical hearings from November 22 – had decided to shift to the virtual mode from January 3 in view of rise in COVID-19 cases and the subsequent ‘yellow alert’ declared by the government in the national capital. The decision to go back to the virtual system was taken after an office note was placed before Chief Justice D N Patel highlighting the rise in number of cases of COVID-19 infections.

“There is, indubitably, a sudden spurt and spike in COVID-19 cases in the NCT of Delhi. Such rise is quite alarming and worrisome. The government of NCT of Delhi has already issued ‘yellow alert’ in Delhi. It’s high time that this court also takes all the possible precautionary and preventive measures to thwart any possibility of resurgence of any wave of extreme nature,” the statement issued by the high court had said.

The statement had quoted Justice Patel saying, “I have also consulted with the esteemed members of the Administrative and General Supervision Committee of this court. They all are also of the view that immediate steps are required to be taken to safeguard the health and well-being of all the stakeholders while also ensuring that the justice delivery system remains functional.” The high court had first moved to the virtual system in March 2020 following the outbreak of COVID-19, and subsequently, few benches had started holding physical courts everyday on rotation basis.

High court holding physical courts also held hybrid proceedings, wherein lawyers have the option to attend the hearing via video conference instead of appearing in person. Last year, complete physical hearings were resumed in high court from March 15 but on April 8, it was ordered that matters would be taken up through virtual mode only on account of the second wave.

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