In view of "alarming rise" in COVID-19 cases in the national capital, which saw over 26,000 fresh infections in the last 24 hours, the Delhi High Court on Friday said the existing system of hearings via video conferencing will continue till May 15. Similar directions were issued by the high court for the District Courts which have been ordered to conduct virtual hearings only till May 15.
An order issued by the office of the Delhi High Court Registrar General Manoj Jain said, "All the benches of this court shall continue to take up only extremely urgent matters filed in the year 2021, through video conferencing mode.
"All the courts of Registrars and Joint Registrars (Judicial) shall also continue to take up only urgent cases of their respective courts, through video conferencing mode." The high court's office order also said that all other pending routine or non-urgent matters listed between April 26 and May 15 shall stand adjourned en bloc to dates between July 9 to July 31.
On April 18, the high court had said that from April 19 onwards it will only take up "extremely urgent matters" filed this year. On April 8, it had decided that from April 9 to April 23 it will take up matters "through virtual mode only" in view of the rise in COVID-19 cases.
The high court had commenced complete physical functioning from March 15 onwards. Subsequently, it had said that virtual or hybrid proceedings would be held on the request of lawyers.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in March last year, the court was holding proceedings through video conferencing.
Its functioning was restricted to urgent matters from March 16 last year.
Thereafter, from March 25 last year, the functioning of the high court and district courts was further restricted and no physical hearing was being conducted due to the spread of COVID-19.
Subsequently, from September last year, a few benches started holding physical courts every day on a rotation basis. Some of them also started holding hybrid proceedings, wherein lawyers have the option to attend the hearing via video conference instead of appearing in person.