Is there an SOP for district and trial courts during COVID-19 in Karnataka? Yes, there is. Read on to know the functioning of courts during COVID-19.
As a result of the high number of COVID-19 cases being reported daily, the functioning of the district and trial judiciary will be restricted until further notice. In light of this new SOP has been issued for district and trial courts. Below are the salient points.
SOP For District And Trial Courts – Filing Of Cases
- E-filing of cases through CIS software or by emailing a copy of scanned documents to the respective districts to be followed as far as possible.
- Separate counters to be set up outside main court buildings for physical filing for civil and criminal matters. Social distancing to be maintained by queueing for physical filing.
- Para-legal volunteers to monitor the use of masks and social distancing at these counters.
- Officers to have sufficient masks, gloves and sanitisers
- Advocates/ parties-in-person/ advocate’s clerks to give their mobile number and email ID in the presentation form/ vakalathnama
- Additional counters to be set up for filing interlocutory applications, payment of process fee, court fees and submitting challans.
- Exclusive counter to be set up for filing of pleadings, interlocutory applications, etc.
- Specific time to be allotted to acceptance of sureties and execution of bonds
SOP For District And Trial Courts – Entry To Court Premises
- Unnecessary entry of litigant, advocates and parties-in-person to not be permitted
- Typists, job typists, Xerox operators, oath commissioners and notaries will not be permitted to enter the court precincts.
- No more than 50-60% of staff members to be permitted entry at a time.
- All entrants to be subject to thermal screening at entry points. Individuals showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted entry to the court complex.
- Parking of the 2 and 4-wheelers belonging to judicial officers, staff members and government officers is allowed in the court compound. This is not permitted for advocates or litigants.
SOP For District And Trial Courts – Hearing Of Cases
- District and trial courts to take up only urgent/ emergent matters, ball applications and petitions. These cases will be heard through video conferencing.
- 15 date given cases each to be listed in the forenoon and afternoon sessions. The cases that are not listed for a particular date to be given another date using the CIS auto dating facility. No case to remain undated.
- Recording to evidence to be postponed till further notice.
- Judicial Officers to make all possible efforts to deliver judgements in cases where judgements are reserved.
- Remand proceedings to be conducted away from the main court building, witness lounge, sheds, etc.
- Statement recording to be conducted preferably through video conferencing. Courts will have the discretion to record statements by allowing the witness’s physical presence.
- Requisition for recording statement to be sent through the concerned court’s email.
SOP For District And Trial Courts – Sanitization
- Court premises to be sanitized once a week.
- Canteens, food outlets and bar association premises within the court precincts to remain closed.
- Separate counter to be maintained to sell stamps.
- Lift usage to be avoided. When required, lifts to carry only 50% of their capacity
- Doorknobs and handles, control buttons in lifts and stair railings to be sanitized twice a day with 70% alcohol-based disinfectant
- Partitions on dais and witness boxes to be cleaned after every new witness
In addition, Principal judges and principal district judges are free to take additional measures as per local conditions.