Delhi HC: [Covid-19] Advocates cannot be asked to appear physically before the court

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A petition was filed aggrieved by an order passed by a trial court directing the listing of the petitioner’s matter for physical hearing. The trial court had dismissed the petitioner’s application for hearing through virtual mode on the ground that lengthy arguments might be advanced by the parties.

Moving to the Delhi High Court, the petitioner challenged the order on account of the fact that the family members of his advocate were vulnerable senior citizens and in the present pandemic situation, it would not be possible for the advocate to physically appear before the trial court.

The High Court was informed that the only issue before the trial court was restoration of the pending suit at present.

After considering the matter and hearing the parties, a Single Judge Bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva has stated,

“In view the advisories issued by the High Court, petitioner cannot be asked to appear physically unless the advisory is modified by the High Court, however, recently the High Court has issued a fresh advisory that in case parties do not appear even through virtual mode even after being intimated, the Trial Court is free to proceed in accordance with law.”

Further, the court added, in case of non-appearance through virtual mode even after being intimate, the court concerned will be free to proceed in accordance with the law.

Since only an application for restoration of the suit was pending consideration, the court directed the trial court to conduct the hearing through virtual mode and disposed of the application in accordance with law.

The petition was accordingly disposed of.