PIL in SC: PIL in Supreme Court against limited working hours in Bombay High Court

New Delhi : Under the standard operating procedure implemented in the Bombay High Court, hearing will be held from 12 noon to 3 pm through video conferencing till January 28, 2022. Due to this, the activity of the High Court has been limited to only three hours. Now a public interest litigation has been filed against this in the Supreme Court.

The petitioner argues that in view of the plethora of pending cases, this is not justified and the apex court itself should not actually function full time. The petition has been filed by advocate Ghanshyam Upadhyay. Who practices in Bombay High Court and Supreme Court. He says that during the first and second wave of COVID when the situation was more dire than the present, the High Court judges used to sit till late evening sometimes till 8 pm every day. Now there is no reason for them to just sit for three hours.

He says the court can actually work. This creates difficulties for the litigants and advocates not only during the implementation of the SOP but also afterwards. Because cases will pile up. He has also challenged the SOP issued. The High Court has directed the subordinate courts in Mumbai, Pune, Raigad, Alibaug and Thane to be made functional with 50% staff attendance on rotation basis from 11 am to 4 pm.

The petitioner argues that the hearing of cases in the High Court and subordinate courts has reduced considerably and due to the new SOP, it has almost come to a standstill. The petitioner said that the judges of the subordinate courts are making every effort to avoid hearing for them due to the threat of virus. Said that there is a lack of infrastructure among all the cities of the country to hear the cases on all the virtual platforms.

In almost every state of the country, all the courts including the remote ones are functioning on the virtual platform and that too very effectively. He sought a direction to the Bombay High Court to ensure that all courts in the state function full time through virtual mode, prescribing guidelines to avoid physical presence of lawyers.