A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court's administrative circular on the 12 noon-3 pm working hours during weekdays due to the rise in Covid cases.
The Bombay High Court's administrative committee has come out with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and according to the decision, the high court would function from 12 noon to 3 pm without a lunch break from Monday to Friday from January 11 to January 28.
The PIL has been filed by advocate Ghanshyam Upadhyay seeking quashing of the circular, issued on January 10, by terming the decision "unrealistic" and "unreasonable."
The plea has also sought virtual hearings in all courts in Maharashtra.
"The Hon'ble court may be pleased to direct the High Court, Bombay to ensure that all the courts in the state are made to function full time through virtual platform by laying down guidelines for the same in such manner and/or procedure as the High Court may deem fit and proper with the object of avoiding physical appearance of lawyers/litigants but without compromising/curtailing the court timing/working hours of the courts in the State of Maharashtra, the plea said.
The plea said the lawyers and litigants are facing hardships due to the reduced working hours.
"Their fundamental rights are jeopardized and violated, which are a matter of great concern and of great public importance," it said.
The PIL also challenged the decision to change the working hours of the lower courts in Mumbai, Pune, Raigad, Alibaug and Thane between 11 AM and 4 PM with the presence 50 per cent of staffers every day on rotation.
The Supreme Court recently took note of a sudden spike in the number of COVID-19 cases and decided to hear all matters in virtual mode from January 7 and the benches are sitting at the residential offices of the judges.
The top court has been hearing cases through video-conferencing since March 2020 due to the pandemic and has been relaxing or tightening the conditions from time to time keeping in mind the changing pandemic situation