As a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus, the Gauhati High Court has decided to restrict the court hearings to only urgent matters.

The directive will remain effective from Sunday till further orders.

The HC has taken the decision with the union ministry of health and family welfare advising to avoid or postpone mass gatherings till novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spread is contained.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also declared novel coronavirus a pandemic.

The decision of the Gauhati HC comes after the Assam government issued advisories to similar effect.

Besides, the state governments of Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh have also taken measures to control the spread of the disease.

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The HC has taken the decision in view of the opinion of public health experts, including medical professionals serving in Assam and considering safety and welfare of all visitors, litigants, advocates, court staff, security staff, maintenance and support staff, and student interns.

“The functioning of the courts in principal seat of the High Court, as well as its outlying benches at Kohima, Aizawl, and Itanagar shall be restricted to urgent matters only, till further orders,” the Gauhati HC notification said.

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“No person except the learned advocates/parties appearing in person who are to address arguments in the matter, shall be permitted in the court room,” it said.

The Gauhati HC also said the advocates and parties in person may mention their matters showing the urgency before the concerned courts.

“The court, only on being satisfied that the matter is of urgent nature, shall hear such matters,” said the registrar general in the notification.

The advocates and parties appearing in person may provide the cause-list number/case number of the case of urgent nature to the court master of the court concerned by 10:15 a.m.

“Only those cases would be taken up for considering the urgency. The other cases shall stand adjourned,” said the notification.

In the old block of the High Court, only Gate No. 4 shall be used for ingress; and Gate No. 1 for egress, it said.

“In the new block of the High Court, only Gate No. 6 shall be used for ingress and egress.”

All the lawyers, litigants, members of staff and security staff shall be subjected to medical screening before entry in the new as well as old High Court building, it mentioned.

“For enabling the same, ingress and egress to the two buildings shall be restricted.”

Registrars of Kohima, Aizawl and Itanagar benches of the HC are required to devise measures as may be deemed fit and proper in terms of above laid down parameters, and issue instructions accordingly.

“Entry of any foreign national in courts and offices is strictly restricted till further orders. This notification shall remain in force till further orders,” the notification further said.

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