Mr. Paresh Jani, the Ahmedabad’s Bar Association President and a member of Gujarat’s Bar Council, made a request on January 6, 2021 to the Chief Justice of the Gujarat’s HC to start permitting physical hearings to take place.
Previously during the COVID-19 induced lockdown, the HC was urged consistently by all the advocate associations, including the Bar Council, to let the courtrooms to be re-opened. This was done so since several law practices were severely affected due to being shut during the lockdown.
The lower courts were permitted to reopen after the festival of Diwali, but the courts in the major cities of Rajkot, Vadodara, Surat as well as Ahmedabad are still unable to function physically owing to the current pandemic situation. Mr. Jani’s letter stated that —
“We, the office bearers of the Bar Association are unable to satisfy them with the reasons for not starting the physical hearing in the courtrooms. All quasi judicial courts and offices have started physical hearing as before.”
He continued to urge the CJI as well as Gujarat HC’s Chief Justice to let lawyers who want to reopen physical proceedings be given permission, while lawyers who want to continue with virtual proceedings be allowed to work via e-hearing.
The major citation for this request was the descending financial conditions of junior lawyers in particular and the restriction of hearings to video conferencing.