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Shutdown in courts: Lawyers, litigants face tough time listing cases


NEW DELHI:  With the courts limiting their functioning to only urgent cases, litigants are facing a harrowing time running from one court to another trying to convince the authorities concerned to get their cases listed for hearing via video-conferencing.

A day after the Supreme Court directed the all states and Union Territories to constitute a high-powered committee to decide on convicts and undertrials who can be released on parole or interim bail, many advocates have approached the Delhi High Court seeking relief. To their dismay, however, the response is: “They are safer inside.”

Advocate Gautam Khazanchi, who practices at the HC mentioned the case of a 55-year-old man jailed since May 2019 in a case of cheating and forgery.

Khazanchi said his client has diabetes and the court had permitted his wife to give him insulin injections and medicines at the time of their weekly meeting in Tihar.

But since Tihar has been closed to all visitors now due to COVID-10 outbreak, she can’t reach out to him.

The lawyer said he approached the registrar seeking an urgent listing of his client’s bail but was told: “this is no emergency and matters related to only life and death are eligible”.

“The cases of bail are inherently urgent; it’s a question of liberty as well as the safety and health concerns,” said advocate Sowjhanya Shankaran, appearing for Delhi riots accused.

The functioning of Delhi HC and courts subordinate to it has been suspended till April 4.