Karnataka HC issues SOP for partially resuming courts


The High Court of Karnataka has issued Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the High Court and the district courts for resuming partial functioning of the courts across the State from June 1.

While the HC will hear urgent cases through videoconferencing in three forenoon sessions between 10.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m., the final hearing cases will be taken up in the physical courts in the afternoon session from 2.30 p.m. to 4.45 p.m.

However, only a total of 30 cases would be taken up for hearing in the forenoon sessions, and only 10 in the afternoon sessions. Only eight courts, two Division Benches and six Single Benches will be made available during sitting days in the High Court.

In the district courts, only 10 cases each would be heard during the forenoon and the afternoon sessions respectively. The evidences in trial courts would be recorded only by videoconferencing, except for official witnesses.

Only one advocate will be allowed to enter the court halls, and no other paralegal staff, like advocates clerks, and interns, will be allowed inside the court hall. Entry for the public and the litigant public is strictly prohibited except as ordered by the court.

All the judges are advised to use face masks while in the court premises, including the court halls.

As per the SOP, the advocates’ association has to ensure that before the entry of bar members/advocates’ clerks, they would furnish a written declaration, as a one-time measure, undertaking that in the recent past, they have not travelled to any other country, other State or to any other district/s in Karnataka, which is notified as red zone.

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The declaration should also indicate or state that the advocates/advocates’ clerks have not visited any of the containment areas in the recent past.

Elaborate arrangements for health screening at the designated entry points, social distancing, and sanitisation, including inside the court halls, have also been put in place as per the protocol for workplaces.

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Sagar Biswas

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