PUNE As the Bombay High Court (HC) on Thursday issued detailed guidelines for the functioning of subordinate courts as part of opening up of the lockdown in the state in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, courts in Pune will now work in two shifts and 15 per cent staff likely from June 8.
The first shift will begin at 10am and end at 1pm, while the second shift will begin at 2:30pm and end at 5:30pm. All courts will have 15 per cent of staff present for both shifts in rotation.
Two sets of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) were issued by the court- one for red-zone districts including 11 regions and one for all the other courts in the state. The SOP will come into effect on June 8.
In all courts, thermal scanning and hand sanitising at entry will be mandatory. To reduce the footfall, in line with the guidelines followed since March, no visitors or third parties will be allowed inside the court, according to the guidelines.
Shekhar Gaikwad, Pune municipal commissioner, said the sanitisation work at Shivajinagar court is complete and the functioning of courts can start anytime. “After High Court directions, we have carried out sanitisation work at courts to ensure proper functioning there without any health issues. It is now up to the court to decide when to start work,” said Gaikwad.
Pune falls in the category of the red zone, therefore, will have rules that will also apply to Mumbai Metropolitan Area (MMR) region, Solapur, Aurangabad, Nashik, Malegaon, Dhule, Jalgaon, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur.
The rules were formulated considering the guidelines issued by the central government on May 30 and a government resolution passed on May 31.
The courts will have to deal with bail applications and hear matters where “witness action is not required,” according to the standard operating procedure issued by the HC.
The courts will necessarily be required to function four hours in each of the two shifts. The HC has, however, allowed the head of local judicial establishment i.e., the principal district and sessions judge, to alter the timings.
“The judicial officers shall ensure utmost use of the facility of video conferencing and persuade the advocates to use the same by apprising them with the benefits of the facility,” reads a part of the SOP.
If a case is at the stage of the final hearing, the arguments can either be submitted in written or through video conferencing.
For the courts in other parts of Maharashtra as well, the court will function at the same shift timings. However, they will be allowed to function with 50 per cent staff strength.