Hon'ble High Court of Delhi has approved Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for functioning of District Courts vide their letter No. 417/RG/DHC/2020.
According to the SOP Physical hearing of cases shall be started by 1/4th of the Courts, existing at District Courts, w.e.f. 01st September, 2020.
The timings of the physical hearings shall be from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM (First session from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM and second session from 2:00 PM to 03:30 PM). During the break i.e. 12:30 PM to 02:00 PM there shall be deep cleaning of all the Court Rooms and the common areas.
The SOP also provides guidelines/ directions for the Ld. Courts/Ld. Advocates/ parties in person for appearing physically in Courts:
It shall be the sole discretion of the Judge concerned to decide as to whether a matter shall be taken up through video conferencing or through physical hearing or to be adjourned depending upto the facts and circumstances of each case and the number of cases fixed for physical hearing on a given day.
No entry in the Court building shall be permitted to :- (a) Juniors, Interns or Law students associated with the Advocate(s) concerned. (b) Relative/s of any party-in-person/litigant. Persons displaying symptoms of I.L.I. (Influenza like illness) i.e. fever, cold, cough, sneezing etc. shall not be permitted entry inside the Court Complex.
The Ld. Judicial Officers shall ensure that on the day of physical hearing, depending upon the size of the Court Room, there is kept sufficient distance of atleast six feet as between the dais and the point from where the lawyers/litigants are standing for their cases or sitting in the court: and further safe distance be ensured for the staff on the dais as well. The chairs/seating arrangement in the Courtroom shall be kept in such a manner that distance of six feet is maintained from one another.
The parties and counsel shall not be allowed filing of documents or applications during hearings over the dais and the same shall be filed at the Filing counters/ facilitation centres atleast two days in advance.
Physical service of summons/notices shall remain suspended till further orders. In the meanwhile, the judicial officers shall continue to direct service of summons/notices by electronic mode in terms of SOP.
In order to avoid over-crowding, the Under Trial Prisoners shall continue to be produced through video conferencing only.
The following shall be mandatory norms, applicable to all the concerned seeking entry to the Court Rooms Block:
(a) Wearing of masks all times.
(b) Undergoing thermal scanning at the designated entry points and random checking inside the Court Rooms Block.
(c) Sanitizing the hands before/at the time of entry to the block.
(d) Strict adherence to the norms of social distancing (minimum of six feet), within the Court Rooms Block.
(e) Adherence to all the directions/guidelines/SOPs/advisories issued by the Government of India and the Govt. of NCT of Delhi in respect of Covid-19 pandemic.
(f) Scanning of AROGYA Setu app QR code.
A Roster of Ld. Judges who shall be holding Courts ‘Physically’ w.e.f. 01st September, 2020 has already been issued by the District Courts on their official websites. On the days when Judicial Officers are not rostered for physical hearing, they shall hold Courts virtually.