Madras HC to expand virtual hearings from Monday

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Chennai: The Madras High Court will expand its virtual hearings and function with full strength of judges from Monday at both the principal seat here and in Madurai, nearly a month after it limited the benches in the backdrop of some judges testing positive for coronavirus.

Though the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry has appealed for resumption of physical hearing, a Full Court meeting Chaired by Chief Justice A P Sahi through video conference on Friday decided to continue with the virtual mode, court sources said.

The presiding Judges will decide whether the hearings will be from their residences or from their chambers in the court premises based on health condition as some Judges had tested positive for COVID-19, they said.

The roaster will be decided by Chief Justice as usually.

The Registry has to take a decision on the requirements of the staff strength and on the technical arrangements to be made for the virtual hearings without any disturbance.

The arrangements were likely to be for a period of two weeks and would be reviewed based on the situation of the pandemic, the sources said.

Early last month, the administrative committee decided to restrict the virtual hearings to two division benches and four single judges for urgent matters and that too from the residential chambers of the judges.

The decision was taken after at least three judges and some staff tested positive for the coronavirus.

Chennai is badly affected by the pandemic with 62,598 cases as of Thursday.

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