No mask? No hearing! Bombay High Court refuses to hear case after lawyer removes mask in courtroom

New Delhi, Feb 27 (PTI): The Bombay High Court recently refused to hear a case after a lawyer representing the appellant removed his face mask inside a courtroom. The order of the February 22 incident was made available on Saturday. A single-judge bench of Justice Prithviraj Chavan was on February 22 hearing an appeal matter during which the appellant’s advocate removed his mask in the courtroom contrary to guidelines.

Referring to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) laid down by the high court at the time of resumption of physical hearing of cases, Justice Chavan said that wearing a face mask all the time is compulsory. Justice Chavan refused to hear this particular case following which it will be listed once again in due course.

“The matter be removed from the board,” the order said. Justice Chavan allows only lawyers appearing in a case called out to enter his courtroom while other lawyers and parties have to wait in the adjoining room for their matter to come up as per serial numbers. The HC and all subordinate courts in Maharashtra, except Pune, had resumed in-person hearings in December after a gap of eight months.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the courts had been conducting hearings online, through video interface. Maharashtra and Mumbai have been witnessing a surge in fresh coronavirus positive cases since mid February. As on February 26, Maharashtra’s case tally stood at 21,38,154 while Mumbai has 3,23,879 cases.