The Madras High Court said on Friday, February 4 that hearing of cases would be on physical, virtual and hybrid mode with effect from Monday, February 7 subject to strict adherence of COVID-19 norms. "Hearing of cases will be on physical/virtual/hybrid mode, subject to strict adherence of COVID-19 safety protocol such as maintaining social distancing, wearing of mask, frequent hand wash etc," said a notification issued by Registrar General P Dhanabal.
In view of decline in Omicron variant/COVID-19 cases in Tamil Nadu, the Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari issued directions with regard to functioning of the High Court both at the principal seat in Chennai and at the Madurai Bench with effect from February 7, the notification said.
Earlier, on January 2, the High Court had deferred resuming physical hearings which were to start from January 3. Around a week before the new decision, a notification said the Madras High Court would have only physical hearing of cases from January 3. "It is made clear that hearing of cases will be only through physical mode in the Madras High Court (both at Principal Seat and at Madurai Bench)," with effect from Monday, January 3, the notification had said.
Acting Chief Justice Justice MN Bhandari had earlier issued orders owing to a spike in cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus. The orders applied to the functioning of the Principal Seat in Chennai, as well as the Bench in Madurai and all the subordinate courts in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, said a notification from P Dhanabal, Registrar General of the Madras High Court. "Physical hearing and hybrid option before all courts shall remain suspended. All hearings shall be through virtual mode only," it had said.
Filing of papers, copy applications and receiving the order copies among others in emergent matters alone would be through e-mail and in exceptional cases, it shall be through the respective counters/drop boxes provided for the purpose subject to strict adherence to COVID-19 safety protocol, it said.
With PTI inputs