COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Keeping in View the prevailing situation due to outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID—19) and after considering the prevailing situation in the States of Punjab, Haryana and specifically UT Chandigarh Where the unique conditions of lockdown/Curfew and the Containment Zone continues and with a view to ensure the safety of the Judges, Advocates, Staff and litigants; the Administrative Committee has resolved that w.e.f. 04.05.2020, an arrangement shall be put into operation on experimental basis, till further orders, on the court working days of the High Court.

  •  Only urgent matters to be entertained.
  • Mentioning of urgent matter to be made on High Court website from 8.30 am to 10 a.m. on the court working day.
  • Once mentioning request has been declined no further mentioning request in the same matter by the same advocate of party shall be entertained during the aforesaid period.
  • Hearing to be conducted through Video Conferencing.
  • The concerned Advocate/Litigant shall ensure that the Room from where he/she intends to appear before the Court through Video conferencing or Video call is free from all source of disturbances like external noises, poor lighting, improper acoustics. It shall be ensured that judicial proceedings are conducted with taken courtesies and protocol as are being observed during judicial proceedings in the Court. No other person except the advocate/litigant shall be allowed in the Room from where litigant/advocate is appearing through video-conferencing/video-call facility.
  • Advocates/ their clerks/law interns/general public shall not be permitted inside the High Court building during this period.

To read the detailed Order issued by the High Court, please follow the below link:

ORDER


Punjab and Haryana High Court

[Order dt. 02-05-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Kerala High Court: A Division Bench of A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar and Shaji P. Chaly, JJ. while addressing the urgent matter with regard to removal of blockade erected by Karnataka State connecting to State of Kerala in order directed Centre to take note of the same in order to save human lives.

In the present matter, Advocate General of Karnataka submitted that few of the road routes from Karnataka to Kerala bordering Kannur District, that had been blocked by the State of Karnataka could be opened and maintained as such till the lifting of the lockdown arrangement  to facilitate transportation of essential commodities to the State of Kerala.

Further he sought time to ascertain whether it would be possible to remove block over roads bordering Kasaragod District, so as to facilitate the movement of vehicles carrying patients who required urgent medical attention.

Central Government Standing Counsel submitted that efforts were on to try and bring about an amicable resolution of the issue and that a meeting with Chief Secretaries of the two States was also being considered.

Additional Advocate General of Kerala pointed that when the right to life of a citizen is at stake, and the action of State of Karnataka in erecting blockades that prevent the movement of persons seeking medical relief.

The said action goes against the guidelines issued by Centre under Disaster Management Act and Government of Karnataka under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 read with enabling provisions under DMA 2005, Court ought not to wait any longer and must pass urgent orders to protect fundamental right of the citizens.

Central Government Standing Counsel pointed out that although Centre has issued guidelines under DMA, State Governments have been given freedom to relax conditions based on ground realities.

Adding to his submissions, he stated that the issue in question involves policy considerations which this Court would not ordinarily interfere with.

Decision & Analysis of the Court

“We have no option now, but to pass this order with a view to safeguard fundamental rights of citizens during this grim period in our country’s history.”

Th restrictions imposed by the State of Karnataka, through the blockades erected has resulted in loss of many lives.

No results have been produced even after discussion between the Centre and State Government.

Any delay in resolving the stalemate could be catastrophic for the residents of Kasargod District in Kerala.

Bench observed that,

Right of a citizen to move freely throughout the territory of India, subject to reasonable restrictions that may be imposed in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State, public order etc. is recognised under Article 19 (1)(d) of Constitution.

A citizen also has a fundamental right to life and personal liberty guaranteed to him by the State under Article 21 of our Constitution.

The above stated rights are simultaneously infringed — in the case of a resident of State of Kerala when he/she is denied entry into State of Karnataka for availing medical treatment or is deprived of essential articles of food that are being transported into the State through blockades erected by State of Karnataka.

Restrictions imposed on transportation of essential articles of food would also amount to breach of rights protected under Articles 301-304 of Constitution of India.

State Government of Karnataka cannot be heard to contend that it is not obliged to respect fundamental right of a citizen who resides outside its territorial limits. 

Being a part of Union of India, State of Karnataka necessarily has to respect and guarantee the fundamental right of a citizen of this country irrespective of the place of his residence or domicile within the country.

Bench in the above view states that,

“..we hope that State Government of Karnataka would take note of the basic principles enshrined in our Constitution and take immediate steps to resolve the present stalemate.”

Hence, concluding it’s decision, the Court held that the material roads that connect Mangalore in Karnataka, to Kasargod in Kerala are a part of National Highway network and it is therefore Central Government’s duty to ensure that the said roads are kept free of blockades.

Restrictions may be imposed in times of national emergency as that is in the present times, but when the guidelines issued by Central Government merits travel for urgent medical treatment, then the said guidelines are necessarily to be enforced through the removal of blockades that prevent such travel.

Court directs Centre to intervene in the present matter and ensure that the blockades are removed without any further delay so as to facilitate free movement of vehicles carrying persons for urgent medical treatment across the border between two States.[Kerala High Court Advocates’ Assn. v. State of Kerala,  2020 SCC OnLine Ker 1302, decided on 01-04-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Bombay High Court: G.S. Patel, J. while imposing costs for non-urgent matter being listed, stated that,

“I have already issued a notice saying that it is not necessary to mention matters for circulation and, for convenience of the Bar and to save time, parties are allowed to put in praceipes for matters that are truly urgent and if no urgency is found costs will be imposed.”

Bench stated that the present listing for ad-interim reliefs is throughly irresponsible. It is is a regular contempt petition and there can be no urgency for the same.

Looking at the above, there are two possible solutions,

First is to completely withdraw the facility extended to the Bar and instead to require everybody to  consume the better part of an hour or more mentioning matters making out a ground for urgency before circulation.

Other alternative stated by the bench was of imposing costs as mentioned in the notice, which is preferable by the bench.

“It is not unreasonable to expect Advocates to inform their clients of what is and is not possible or permissible, and not to act on their every wish.”

Thus, in view of the above, costs of Rs 15,000 against the plaintiff are imposed, also the matter will be listed last on 26-06-2020 and no opportunity to mention the same either for an early listing or priority listing on supplementary board. [Chandrakant Mulchand Shah v. Jiraj Developer LLP, Notice of Motion No. 2421 of 2018, decided on 16-03-2020]