This article has been written by Geeta Sajjanshetty, an advocate in Karnataka High court( Kalaburagi terrace ).
The 21 st century watched the unprecedented world lockdown with the spread of infectious coronavirus ailment. India having intersected 1000 number of positive cases and more than 100 fatalities, the entire nation is under lockdown for 21 number of epoches. The 21 dates lockdown has affected every class of the society, the worst affected are the daily wagers and migrant labourers who have been left stranded with no meat , no coin or transportation to reach their native. All professings and professionals could be impacted with this lockdown. The part situation being volatile, unpredictable and complex, we may have to rethink, redesign and reset our personal and professional life; this is a challenge. The office situation is set to change for the lawyers, we may have to rethink our role post COVID-1 9. This article explores the impact COVID-1 9 may have on the prosecution practise of advocates in courtrooms. What could be the changes, the emerging vogue of cases and the challenges for lawyers.
Arrival of virtual Laws
The summer vacations for most of the High Courts as well as territory court were still far away and the pandemic of coronavirus stumbled the commonwealth, the SC on 16. 3.2020 declared that in order to protect the health and safety of litigants, tourists, lawyers, justices, court organization, media professionals etc ., the courts will curtail hearing merely extremely urgent matters, thus resulting in closure of courtrooms for residual of the cases. After this, numerous High Courts including the Karnataka HC came up with fliers for hearing interests digitally. This distinguished the introduction of virtual tribunals, this is a turning point as many lawyers inferred that e-courts and virtual hearing would make many years for the judiciary to convert itself into virtual avatar. The judiciary has promptly adapted to this novel method of hearing instances online with the eruption of the pandemic. Nonetheless, when it comes to technology, many lawyers may have to get themselves informed about the online appearing. The experts, government offices and doctors being of the opinion that the pandemic may continue its spread, the social distancing is here to stay. It is time for lawyers of all kinds to get abreast with the use of computers and the internet and get going online before it’s too late.
Technology is here to stay
The Supreme Court with three judges bench comprising the Chief Justice of India Shri S.A. Bobde, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice L. Nageshwara Rao by its order dated 6.4.2020 has issued guidelines for video conferencing for all courts throughout the country. Due to public health concerns, to prevent the spread of virus and to maintain social distancing, the conventional mode of imparting Laws has been shelved for the time being. The guidances and guidelines have been issued under Article 142 of the Constitution of India doing complete justice across the country and to prevent access to justice from get frustrated.
The Supreme Courts has approved all steps taken by the State supreme court to reduce the physical spirit of the lawyers, litigants, pilgrims, students, media professionals etc ., from the precincts of the Tribunals.
All Fields have been directed to ensure functioning of the Courts through video conferencing facilities. With the predominating public health scenario in their respective commonwealths, each of the High Courts have been asked to decide the modalities to temporarily alter to video conferencing engineerings. To ensure accessibility of a helpline to address technical corrects/ hitches that may arise during the course of its hearings. The neighborhood Courtrooms have to follow the mode of video conferencing set up by their respective High Court. Observe the facts of the case that not all litigants or all advocates will be equipped to participate in video conferencing, under such circumstances the guidelines provide that the Courts will have to make such equipment available and if necessary in proper occurrences the Fields considers that it is equipping an amicus curiae. The specifications are envisaged mainly for reasons, nonetheless, for conducting exhibit such facility can be availed supported both parties have given consent for recording evidence by way of video conferencing. For preserve evidence in a courtroom, the social distancing standard has to be observed. The said guidelines specify that the Courts will have to restrict the number of litigants that may enter into the courtroom. Care must be taken not to prevent any litigant from entering inside the court hall unless s/ he is suffering from any infectious diseases.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India has come up with an advisory dated 20.3.2020, requested for coordinated efforts to combat COVID-1 9, aimed the public and private supervisors not to terminate the services of their employees with special emphasis for the contractual/ temporary/ informal labour. To consider the non-deduction of incomes for the period the employees are unable to work in view of the pandemic. This advisory could be challenged by the employers, organisations, fellowships etc. The hires/ laborers/ staff whose business may be terminated/ laid off could approach the Court trying awning of the advisory. Remittances of wages, salaries, wages will take a reach as business, employers, institutions and manufactures may retard, increase or refuse the payment. Employees/ personnel may challenge any assign line-up on the soil that the place of transpose is a prone COVID-1 9 zone.
Rent Control disputes
There has been an oral solicit by the Chief Minister of Delhi to the proprietors not to insist on rent for 2-3 months. It has been reported in numerous parts of the country that physicians, harbours and other health care professionals supposedly have been asked to vacate their leased assertions for the fear of contracting the disease. The Government of Karnataka has asked the local officials to initiate action against such landowners as it amounts to hampering a govt official from doing his duty. The Ministry of Home Affairs by its order dated 29 th March 2020 has asked the owners of the leased qualities where migrant workers bided were asked not to necessitate payment for a period of one month, and has also directed to take actions if any proprietor is molesting students/ labourers to evacuate the assertions. The multiplexes Association of India is seeking exemption from compensating tariff for their loaned properties in view of a ended clang of their business. Same exceptions may be sought by big showrooms in plazas, inhabitants of metro municipals where leases are usually very high etc.
Violations of contract
Contractual indebtedness which could not have been fulfilled because of the pandemic, the aggrieved party may contact courts for the purpose of obtaining shatters or seek the views for renegotiation, discontinuing or cancelling the contract. There will be business enterprises, business, industries which is likely to suffer gigantic losings, may seek redressal through arbitration or mention reporting procedures.
Passport relevant strifes
With closure of airports, there is no transportation for beings travelling abroad, under such circumstances the delay in issue of passports, vias or renewal of passports on time may motivate beings to seek impairs.
It has been reported from many zones of the country that police have filed events for breaching the lockdown, events filed against people who have infringement quarantine season. Blockage of entry points into Karnataka to prevent spread of coronavirus resulted in denying access to Mangalore city for accessing medical care from Kerala’s Kasaragod district, this led to inter-state dispute registered at the Supreme court of the united states. Tort disputes may be filed against people involved in exposing others to the virus. Wars are being initiated against people involved in the spread of imitation news.
It is anticipated that there may be cases levelled against pharma companionships/ physicians/ health professionals who have assured fake rectifies for coronavirus. Clients may be filed against manufacturers of sanitizers and masks for increasing their rates announce COVID-1 9. There could be issues of refund from hurtle enterprises, hotels, airlines. deletion of leisure happens etc.
Across the nations, there is a surge in issues pertaining to domestic violence with world-wide lockdown; India’s story may not be very different as family violence surfaced the chart of crimes against wives as per the National Crime Record Bureau data for 2018.
There will be various other possible issues relating to housing loans, bank loans, student lends, waiver in the best interests, coverage claims etc.
The litigants and lawyers across the Country are all reeling under the impact of COVID-1 9 with postponement of cases, with no new buyer for many lawyers , no income, it is indeed a difficult time for all of us. Nonetheless, being idealistic is the need of the hour and circumstances certainly are going to change, we need to gear ourselves and limb ourselves with the solutions for the forthcoming occasions as COVID-1 9 has opened the pandora box for litigating lawyers.
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