MUMBAI: Modifying standard operating procedure issued in the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the Bombay high court’s administrative committee on Thursday directed all lower courts in the city to resume trials and work in two shifts. Directions of the circular come into effect from Monday.
“Judicial officers may pass appropriate orders if it is noticed that any advocate or party is deliberately remaining absent,” the circular said.
While the first shift will be from 10.30 am to 1.30 pm, the second will be from 2pm to 5.30pm. Until Thursday, most lower courts held proceedings till 2 pm.
The committee said courts “shall preferably deal with the matters” involving maintenance of wives, children and parents, cases where there is stipulated time for completion of trials, cases time-bound by either Supreme Court or high courts, sessions court triable cases where the accused has been in custody for three or more years and magistrate court triable cases where accused have been in custody for six months or longer.
Preference will also be given to cases under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, Pocso Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act, MCOCA) Prevention of Corruption Act, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
“Cases investigated by the NIA and CBI. Cases at a mature stage, like at the stage of final arguments or the stage of examination of accused…”, the circular read.
Among civil cases to be taken up for hearing on priority will be those involving mutual consent divorces, declaration of nullity of marriage, alimony, child custody, adoption, compensation claims for death or amputation before Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal.

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