KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court reopened its doors for the physical hearing of cases on Thursday after a gap of over two and half months since normal functioning was stopped owing to the COVID-19 crisis.
A few cases were heard before the division bench presided by Chief Justice T B N Radhakrishnan and other benches with some advocates present, as most lawyers stayed away from attending the court for physical hearing following a decision by the Calcutta High Court Bar Association not to attend proceedings citing safety issues over the pandemic.
The lawyers appeared in white shirts and white collars band as per a new dress code owing to the COVID-19 disease.
Thermal scanners were used at the entry gates for checking body temperature of lawyers, litigants and court staff.
The high court authorities have arranged for state-run buses for transporting its staff to and from the court.
The high court, which has been hearing extremely urgent matters through video conferencing, has, however, allowed the system to continue parallel to physical hearings through a notification issued on Wednesday.
The Bar Association, which took the decision on Sunday not to attend proceedings in courtrooms, had then expressed their willingness to plead matters through video conferencing.
The Bar Association said that in a webinar-cum-general meeting held on Sunday, a large number of advocates expressed fear and apprehension that restarting physical functioning of courts at this juncture would not only endanger the lives of the lawyers, but also affect the professional career of more than 80 per cent of the advocates.
The June 5 notification said that the physical functioning of the Calcutta High Court will be resumed with a fewer number of benches on an experimental basis to ensure regular functioning of courts but with much less footfall in the court arena, both of lawyers and staff.
"Physical courts shall be resumed on a small scale and on an experimental basis from June 11," it said.
In the week beginning June 8, the physical court sittings will be on Thursday and in the next week beginning June 15, the physical courts will be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, it said.