The Bombay High Court’s chief bench has issued a warning to lawyers that if they try to get their cases listed when there is no urgency, “either substantial costs would be imposed or things may be delayed to a later date.” In light of COVID-19, the Bombay High Court bench has already curtailed its working hours, sitting for three hours a day from 12 noon to 3 pm to hear applications. The hearing is only taking place in virtual mode.

The High Court administration claims that by allowing lawyers and parties to list non-urgent matters indefinitely, there was an “increase in the burden on the court workers and court departments” during the time when the number of staff was lowered. “It is observed that taking excessive advantage of the prior notice, by which parties’ advocates were entitled to identify the date of listing without mentioning for circulation, a high number of matters in which there is no urgency are being listed,” according to the notice issued by the High Court.

Advocates are abusing an earlier notice that allowed them to just specify the date of listing without mentioning for circulation, according to a bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Madhav Jamdar. Lawyers are circulating non-urgent matters, causing a huge number of cases with little urgency to be listed, according to the notice.

The high court administration has taken note of attorneys and parties as a result of this. “If any such matters that are not urgently urgent are disseminated,” the notification adds, “either hefty charges will be levied or things may be delayed to a later date.”

Due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Mumbai, the High Court recently began operating exclusively for three hours every day between 12 and 3 p.m. via video conferencing. Only essential concerns would be heard, it was decided. “Parties and advocates must appreciate that the goal of limiting the Court’s operational hours is to reduce crowding and because there is less staff available,” the notice added.

“The goal of limiting the court’s operating hours was to avoid crowding and because there is less staff,” according to the announcement.

“Instantly increasing the load on the Court staff and departments by listing non-urgent items,” the warning stated.

Advocates were told by the Bench that if non-urgent matters were circulated, either cost would be charged or the case would be delayed to a later date.

“Advocates and parties are advised that if any such matters are circulated that are not immediately urgent, either hefty costs may be levied or matters may be delayed to a later date,” the notice added. While this division bench issued a written notice, several High Court benches have been asking lawyers not to insist on listing cases that do not require quick court consideration.

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