On Monday, combating the critical situation of deadly virus COVID-19 and following a lockdown in the state, Bombay High Court has issued a circular warning the lawyers and petitioners to only bring urgent matters for hearing. The court further noted that if they fail to do so, an exemplary cost of Rs 50,000 will be imposed against them.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice Bhusan P Dharmadhikari and Justice AA Sayed has issued the circular while hearing a PIL seeking state government to take preventive measures for curbing COVID-19 outbreak and questioned the facilities at BMC-run Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai. The court has adjourned the matter for one week as the lawyer didn’t turn up in court.
“There will be one court for hearing all civil matters and one court for taking up all criminal matters. All the fresh matters of extremely urgent nature can be presented before a single judge on March 26 and March 30 at 12 noon. The advocates shall make an extra copy of petitions/proceedings to the court. In case, it is found that matters that are not extremely urgent are moved, exemplary costs will be imposed,” stated the Bombay High Court circular.
The bench has further stated that it will function with one judge for its principal seat in Mumbai, and its benches located in Goa, Nagpur, and Aurangabad for the civil and criminal matters of extreme urgency.
Although the court has earlier issued a notice stating that it will only take urgent matters for hearing, on Thursday, it has observed that approximately 200 praecipes forwarded and plenty of non-urgent matters were there. Thus, the High Court warned all the lawyers and litigants of imposing exemplary costs for bringing non-urgent matters before the court.
The High Court has also reduced the staff attendance in connection to its orders for being functional only for two hours from March 17 in which it will only take urgent matters for hearing.