Parakh Sinha|24th May 2021
High Court opens to virtual hearings exclusively after summer vacations, SOPs in place by the Registrar General to curtail COVID-19 spread in the judiciary.
Bengaluru: Advocates will no longer be allowed to enter the Principal Bench of Karnataka High Court (Bangalore) complex, unless there is a specific order of the court to that effect, according to a circular published on May 20, 2021, by the High Court of Karnataka. Though the High Court opened up after the summer vacations on Monday, it opened virtually.
However, the Advocate General, Additional Advocate General, State Government Advocate and Prosecutors, may, if necessary, address the courts physically.
HC Muralidharan Beema Rao PRO Principal Bench Karnataka said, “The SOP’s have been implemented from today, there isn’t much of a difference in the number of cases heard before the lockdown, they are almost the same.”
“Virtual hearing is not a success, you cannot say all that you want to say, there is no eye contact, the body language is missing. Essentially you are in a euphoria [sic] where you are compelled to deliver at the moment, the result is you fail more often than not,” said S.P. Shankar, Senior Advocate, Karnataka High Court.
Filing of cases is only available by two modes i.e., e-filing and physical filing, physical filing will only be done from Gate no-5 without fixing any prior appointment according to the circular.
Notaries and Oath Commissioners are permitted to occupy the available parking space and must comply with all COVID-19 guidelines. Group C and D employees, like cleaning staff, shall not congregate at one place or sit in groups.
Virtual hearings are an issue for the senior advocates as the young lawyers are more tech-savvy but, “These youngsters might be able to present a good photograph in a cool manner, but even they are not able to deliver the goods for clients, often missing the attention point in virtual hearings. We will see clogging and accumulation of cases because of this virtual hearing” said Mr Shankar.
The Principal Bench of the Karnataka High court was on a summer vacation and is reopening today, having approx 200 cases that are meant to be heard according to the official website for Karnataka High Court.