The Gauhati High Court and subordinate courts will physically open from September six and advocates with both doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be issued cards for entering the premises, the authorities concerned announced on Saturday.
Cases shall, however, be continued to be heard in hybrid mode at the high court's principal seat in Guwahati, according to an order issued by its Registrar General Raktim Duara.
The advocates who have taken both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine shall be allowed entry inside the premises of the high court and they have been asked to submit supporting certificates through e-mail for getting the entry cards.
The advocates who have taken the first COVID-19 vaccine dose on or after May 15, 2021, shall be allowed to enter the premises on production of vaccination certificate.
Entry of litigants in the premises of the high court shall continue to be prohibited, except when the litigant is the petitioner in-person or when the personal appearance of the litigant is required in a case as may be verified by the advocate concerned, the order said.
Thermal screening of all advocates, irrespective of whether they have taken the first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine shall be done before they enter the premises and in case anybody is detected with high temperature, runny nose, cough and cold, he or she will have to undergo a mandatory Rapid Antigen Test and will be allowed entry only if the result is negative.
Advocates who have not taken a single dose of the vaccine shall be permitted entry on production of a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours.
The order stated that advocates whose date for taking the second dose of the COVID -19 vaccine is approaching or who have not yet taken the second dose even after the expiry of the cut-off period of 84 days, must take their second dose before entering the premises of the Gauhati High Court.
Bar rooms shall be permitted to be opened with 50 per cent of seating capacity by adhering to COVID-19 protocols issued by the Government from time to time and the Bar Associations shall give an undertaking to the Registrar (Administration) that all protocols shall be maintained.
The advocates must leave the Bar rooms after completion of their work and in no case shall they remain there for more than two hours, the order stated.
Entry of any person in connection with any important work inside the premises of the Gauhati High Court will be allowed only with the prior permission of the Registrar (Administration).
In the case of District Courts, Tribunals, Courts of Special Judges and others, the order stated that cases shall be heard in physical mode though the Presiding Officer may take any case in virtual mode on request if digital infrastructure.is available
"Number of cases shall be increased proportionally in the daily cause list. though cases under the POCSO Act and cases against former/sitting MPs/MLAs (if any) shall be taken up on priority basis," it said.
The guidelines for entry of advocates inside the court premises will remain the same as in the case of the high court.
Litigants or witnesses who have taken at least one dose of the vaccine shall be permitted entry inside the court premises on production of the certificate and not more than two witnesses will be summoned for examination in each case, if required.
Wearing of face masks shall be mandatory' inside the premises of all courts.