Kathmandu, March 20
Full court of the Supreme Court today decided to halt non-urgent court proceedings of all the courts and tribunals for 15 days from March 20 to April 3, to prevent spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Issuing a press release, the apex court said some urgent court proceedings related to habeas corpus writ petition hearing, charge-sheet filing, recording of statements, trail hearings, issuing of arrest warrant and arraignment would continue. Service-seekers, whose court proceedings will be affected due to the SC’s decision will have chance to appear before the court within 10 days after the court resumes its proceedings, according to a press release issued by the SC. The SC said if any case party elapsed statute of time limitation to file or contest case due to closure of the court proceedings, their statute of limitation would not be deemed to have elapsed and they would be given 10 days barring travel time to file or contest their cases.
Stating that children kept in juvenile correction centres were at high risk of COVID-19 infection, the SC urged the concerned body to handover those children to their parents on the condition that the parents, when asked, would bring back their children to the correction centres.
The SC also said judges could order the release of prisoners, who are qualified to be released after paying the amount for the jail term that s/he is yet to serve as stipulated by the penal code. The SC also said it could later take a decision to start its proceedings on holidays and extra hours to meet the challenge of increased workload due to current closure of the court proceedings. The SC said the closure decision would not impact its work related to verdict writing of cases and preparation of case notes. The court will allow its staff to work from home and in different shifts during the closure.
During the closure, the SC will allow only minimum number of lawyers to represent case parties seeking urgent court services. The judiciary will also halt seminars and interactions for next three weeks. Service-seekers with urgent tasks will be allowed in, but they will be screened by the security personnel on the court premises and anybody who has fever, sore throat, cough and runny nose will be advised to visit hospitals. Court officials and judges will also be sent to hospitals if they showed any symptoms of cold, cough and fever.
The apex court said it would continue to take the precautionary measures on the court premises in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. It also urged the service-seekers to inform it if anybody, who came in their contact, showed symptoms of COVID-19.