Orissa HC suspends hearing; orders closure of subordinate courts

Bhubaneswar, March 23 (IANS) In view of lockdown clamped in five districts and eight towns for COVID-19, Orissa High Court on Monday directed to suspend hearings till March 31.

The cases listed on March 23 have been suspended and no further listing will be made up to March 31, said the order of the court.

It, however, said that the urgent matters can be mentioned before the Deputy Registrar (Judicial) through WhatsApp message or video call.

The High Court also ordered the closure of subordinate courts in its jurisdiction which will open to hear only urgent matters.

The subordinate courts in territorial jurisdictions of revenue districts and municipalities, where lockdown has been ordered by the state government, have been issued several guidelines.

The courts will function for urgent hearings such as bail, production and remand from 12 p.m. till 1 p.m. After 1 p.m., the courts and offices shall stand closed, said the order.

In other districts and municipalities, the courts and offices are to function from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to for urgent hearings such as bail, production and remand including temporary injuction.

For avoiding gathering in courts during hearing of urgent matters, only one advocate/prosecutor is to be allowed to remain present in the court to represent the parties concerned, said the order.

Notably, five districts — Khordha, Cuttack, Ganjam, Kendrapara and Angul — eight towns Puri, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Jajpur, Jajpur Road, Bhadrak and Balasore are under lockdown from 7 a.m. on March 22 till 9 p.m. on March 29 to tackle spread of COVID-19.

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