The Allahabad High Court has disposed of 26,458 cases and the Lucknow High Court has disposed of 7,054 cases during the restricted functioning due to COVID-19 Pandemic.
Initially, the functioning of the High Court, both at Allahabad and Lucknow was restricted for only those matters in which the court grants permission for hearing. However, the physical appearance of counsels was not allowed by the Court and the proceedings were held through Video Conferencing only.
Later on, the Court relaxed the condition by providing that there shall be no need of prior permission for filing of fresh cases and further the court directed the Registry to not to withhold any Fresh Petition due to any procedural or filling defect.
The Court also allowed Physical Appearance of the Counsels both at Allahabad and Lucknow, but considering the surge of COVID-19 cases in Lucknow, the Physical Hearing at Lucknow has been suspended. This lead to resentment from the bar at Lucknow for not allowing the Physical Appearance of counsels at Lucknow, whereas the same was permitted for Allahabad. The Bar shown its resentment by going on strike from Judicial Work and after deliberation between the Bar and the High Court Administration, the strike was called off, on the assurance that soon Physical Hearing will be started.
The High Court at Allahabad and Lucknow has strengthened its E-filing module and video conferencing system, so as to ensure less disruption in hearing through Video Conferencing.However, the Bar of Lawyers is continuously requesting the Court to resume Physical Hearing and increase the number of benches, in view of backlog of cases.
During the period of its restricted functioning amid the pandemic lockdown, it is now revealed that:
- 83,783 cases have been taken up for hearing in the High Court at Allahabad. 26,458 cases were decided of which 2,436 were decided via Video Conferencing.
- In the High Court at Lucknow, 43,213 cases have been taken up for hearing. 7,054 cases were decided of which 4,454 were decided via Video Conferencing.
- In the courts Subordinate to the High Court, 42,64,119 cases/applications have been taken up for hearing. 4,16,677 were decided of which 1,17,698 were disposed of through Virtual Courts. 3,42,229 cases/applications relating to under-trial prisoners have been disposed of.
Under the aegis of Chief Justice Govind Mathur, as of today, 50 Judges are holding Court at Allahabad, and 18 Judges are holding Court at Lucknow. During the pandemic period, the High Court had also introduced certain measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Facility of Video Conferencing Hearing provided to Counsels. For some time, Physical Hearing was also allowed by the Court.
- Entry through Manual Passes has been stopped, and entry is allowed only through e-passes.
- Several measures are taken to maintain social distancing in the court premises, such as providing the maximum number of counsels allowed to remain in the courtroom at a time.
- The Court has arranged chairs for lawyers in the lobby of the Court, and alternate courtrooms have been opened for hearing.
- That Court has done away with the requirement of wearing Gown and Coats.
- Canteens and Advocates Chambers have been closed.
- The Clerks of Advocates are not allowed to enter the High Court premises.
- Weekly Sanitization of the High Court campus is done to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
- Wearing of masks inside the court premises is mandatory for everyone.
- Regular checkup of Staff of High Court is done to ensure that the risk of COVID-19 spread is minimised through the regularly functioning staff in Court.