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Three Punjab and Haryana High Court Benches to hear cases offline from Monday

A day after the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association decided to seek Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha’s transfer and boycott his court for non-resumption of physical hearing of cases, the Registrar-General today made it clear that three Single Benches would hold court through physical mode in the designated courtrooms from February 8. The number of courts will gradually be increased, keeping in view the infrastructure or installations, medical advice, MHA guidelines and other safety measures.

Registrar-General Sanjiv Berry also made it clear that the Benches would take up the cases in the cause-list, in addition to the category of cases notified earlier. An order issued in this regard stated a meeting was convened on January 31 to discuss the issue, keeping in view the MHA guidelines and the fact that no application for physical hearing was received from any advocate.

“In spite of being invited, no representative of the High Court Bar Association attended the said meeting…,” the Registrar-General asserted, adding that the Advocates-General of Punjab and Haryana, Additional Solicitor-General of India and the UT senior standing counsel gave consent for the physical hearing of criminal appeals.

The order added a letter was earlier issued to all District and Sessions Judges to permit physical hearing in all categories of cases. Three courtrooms were set up in the High Court for physical hearing. It was notified on January 26 that physical hearing would commence in addition to the present system of hearing matters through videoconferencing.

It was also notified that in the first instance, all criminal appeals in which the accused were in custody would be heard. A list of more than 1,100 such appeals was published. “Despite the issuance of order publishing the list of cases, no request for hearing was received from any advocate and therefore no case could be listed for physical hearing.”

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