Covid-19 outbreak: Lawyers in Mumbai permitted to travel on local trains to attend hearing in Bombay high courtUpdated: Sep 16, 2020 00:51 IST
The Bombay high court (HC) on Tuesday directed the railways and state authorities to permit those advocates who have been issued letters by the court, to travel by local trains to reach HC to attend physical hearings in their matters.
The initiative will be undertaken on an experimental basis for two weeks from September 18 till October 7.
HC said that based on the outcome of the initiative, the relaxation would be considered for advocates from lower courts, too. The court has also directed the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa to take action against lawyers who misuse the facility.
The bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice GS Kulkarni, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Chirag Chanani and other lawyers through advocate Shyam Dewani, and another plea through advocate Uday Warunjikar, was informed that advocates were unable to attend the limited physical hearings in HC, as they were not permitted to travel by local trains.
The permission for train travel has been restricted to state, municipal and health staffers and others in essential services owing to the Covid-19 outbreak.
In the previous hearing on September 10, the bench had directed the state and railways to consider starting an initiative in which lawyers with letters of certification from the HC’s registry could be allowed to travel on locals to attend physical hearings or visit their offices.
On Tuesday, advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni for the state and additional solicitor general Anil Singh for the railways informed the bench that they were agreeable for travel arrangement for lawyers on experimental basis.
Kumbhakoni placed on record a note, setting out the arrangement that can be made for lawyers who are required to attend physical hearings in their matters.
As part of the procedure, such advocates will have to apply to the HC registrar, who will scrutinise and issue certificates. The advocates will then have to show the same to the railway authorities, so that they may be issued a pass or a ticket for the particular date of physical hearing.
Kumbhakoni’s suggested that if the system worked, it could be applied for trial court advocates too. The court said that though it was not inclined to grant similar relief to trial court lawyers immediately, it would consider the suggestion during the next hearing on October 6.