Though COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet and a number of cases are emerging with every passing day, increasing the tally of infected person, but administration has issued proper SoPs to contain the spread of this infection. With observance of these precautions, life is limping back to track as further lockdown would have casted drastic affects on nation’s economy, which is already trying hard to recover. The administration has allowed most of the activities as per normal practice, though with strict observance of COVID-19 SoPs to contain the infection further. But it is really a matter of grave concern that working in judiciary of J&K as not been allowed to continue, as it was pre COVID-19 outbreak. There is a complete ban on entry of litigants and even lawyers in the Courts, which is causing great hardships for people seeking justice. Though online hearing of cases is going on, but it can’t compete physical hearing, as per past practice. Moreover, internet service in J&K is also restricted and in absence of 4G network, it is hard for people to attend their hearings properly, thereby adding to sufferings of masses.
The lawyers are continuously holding protests and Dharna demanding open entry in courts, but it is sad to say that despite lapse of more than 2 months, nothing has been done on ground level as per demands of the lawyers. The citizens as well as lawyers are worst affected by continued suspension of normal functioning of High Court and Subordinate Courts for over nine months. Entry of Lawyers and Public in High Court and public in Subordinate Courts is closed since March 2020. The Judiciary, the most important institution of democratic India, is protector of rights of citizens guaranteed by Constitution and people approach it for seeking protection of their constitutional and statutory rights through lawyers, who have status of officers of courts. In the present situation, lawyers are disabled in performance of their professional duties. The approach to Judiciary should be available to citizens without any hindrance. Continued restrictions of entry of lawyers and public into courts amounts to denial of rights guaranteed by Constitution of India. It lacks justification now when other fields like Govt offices, business, politics and electioneering, marriage gatherings, conducting proceedings of parliament and assemblies, cinema halls, liquor bars, bus and air transport, farmers’ protests etc are going on, what is the reason behind closure of people’s entry into these temples of justice. The virtual mode offered is no alternative to physical hearings in courts. The closure of lawyers’ facilities including Bar Halls, Canteens etc. in courts is a brazen attack on lawyers’ independent existence and in discharge of their professional duties.
Through the medium of your esteemed daily, I would like to request Govt and Judicial authorities to immediately resolve the issues and allow people to entre Courts, so that they can plead their cases, without any hindrance.