KOLKATA: Calcutta high court would remain closed till July 19, said an order issued by the HC Chief Justice, TBN Radhakrishnan, on Monday.
The order coincided with reports that a senior Calcutta HC official had tested positive for Covid-19. Sources, however, said the court’s closure had nothing to do with the deputy registrar’s Covid-positive report. The order issued by the Chief Justice cited the new phase of lockdown in Kolkata, the increasing number of containment zones and a rise in Covid cases in the city and its suburbs as reasons for the temporary shutdown. “On account of the new phase of lockdown in Kolkata and constant increase in the containment zones and rapid increase of Covid-19 patients in the city of Kolkata and its suburbs, judicial and administrative work of the High Court, Calcutta shall remain suspended till July 19,” the order stated.
The Chief Justice had earlier suspended judicial and administrative work at the Calcutta HC from July 10 to 13 on account of the new phase of lockdown in Kolkata, declaring considerable part of it as containment zones, according to Registrar General Rai Chattopadhyay. The high court had earlier reopened its doors for physical hearing of cases on June 11, after a gap of over two-and-a-half months as normal functioning was stopped during the lockdown. It had been taking up only very urgent matters through video-conference hearings.
To ease work during the lockdown, the HC had earlier proposed hybrid hearings from June 17, in which litigants or their counsels might appear in person, while the other litigants might choose to appear through a video link. It was proposed that six benches — four division benches and two single benches — would continue to hold hearings in which both sides appeared through video links as well as hearings, where both sides appeared in person. The physical hearings were to start on June 11 but lawyers stayed away due to Covid scare.