COVID-19: Impact On Indian Courts | Follow-Up 3

April 2020

In view of the extension of the lockdown in India, the functioning of the courts continues to remain extremely negligible. Various courts and forums have issued renewed notifications which are highlighted below:

1. Supreme Court: This court continues to hear only limited and urgent matters. On April 15, 2020, SC issued another Standard Operating Procedure detailing the process for mentioning, e-filing and video conferencing hearing of urgent matters which supplements the previous SOP issued on March 23 and 26, 2020.

2. High Court of Delhi: On April 15, 2020, Delhi HC passed an office order whereby it suspended its functioning and of all the subordinate courts in Delhi till May 03, 2020. However, it increased the number of benches hearing urgent matters.  On April 22, it modified the procedure for mentioning urgent matters. Now, instead of mentioning urgent matters on telephone, a link is made available from 10:30 am to 12:00 noon on all working days. In addition, by way of an office order dated April 26, 2020, the DHC increased the scope of urgent matters and decided to hear matters pending at the stage of final hearing under various categories. The order provides a detailed list of these categories along with conditions required to be fulfilled by the parties for the matter to be listed for hearing.

3. NCLT: By means of a notice issued on April 14, 2020, directions given by NCLT on March 22 have been extended till May 03, 2020. With respect to functioning of NCLT, further steps will be taken depending on the exigencies of the litigants. Thereafter, on April 21, 2020, NCLT clarified that applications for urgent hearing can be filed through e-filing portal at five locations i.e., New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Amravati and Jaipur. At all other benches, applications may be e-mailed to the respective Registrar(s).

4. NCDRC: On April 14, 2020, NCDRC issued a notice adjourning all matters listed between April 16 to May 04, 2020 and provided new date of hearing. Only extremely urgent matters are permitted to be mentioned before the President, NCDRC at 11:00 am at the residential office. Furthermore, on April 23 it extended the limitation period for filing written statements and other pleadings with effect from March 15, 2020 till further orders.

5. Madras High Court: On April 17, 2020 MHC issued a notification containing certain directions regarding procedure for filing, appearance and hearing of extremely urgent matters through video conferencing at its principal bench. Pursuant to another notification of April 18, the court summer vacation scheduled from May 01 to May 31, 2020 will now be kept in abeyance. In addition, on April 19 and 20, MHC issued more notifications directing that all judicial proceedings be heard through video conferencing and e-filing of bail applications will commence from April 22, 2020. The detailed procedure is provided in the notification.


Urvika Suri

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