The Madras High Court will have only physical hearing of cases from January 3, 2022, according to a notification issued in Chennai. This will apply to both the principal seat in Chennai and the Madurai bench, a notification from Registrar General P Dhanabal dated December 27, said.
"...with regard to hearing of the cases in the Madras High Court (both at Principal Seat and at Madurai Bench), as ordered, it is notified that all virtual hearings on video conferencing platform shall stand suspended with effect from Monday, January 3, 2022, until further orders," it said. "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, it added.
The Madras High Court first suspended physical hearings in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in India. In June that year, the court resumed hearing cases in person. However, it had to quickly suspend them again after a few judges tested positive for the coronavirus at the time. Initially, hearings were limited to Public Interest LItigations, Habeas Corpus petitions and bail and anticipatory bail petitions. In July, the court resumed full-bench strength.
In February this year, the High Court partially resumed physical hearings, opting for a hybrid model where advocates and lawyers could argue physically in court during the final hearings of a case, and participate virtually otherwise.