Bombay HC directs railways to allow lawyers to travel on local trains on ‘experimental basis’

The Bench said that the advocates can acquire railway tickets or passes after showing a certificate issued by the High Court registrar.

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Railways to allow lawyers to travel by special local trains to attend physical hearing of cases in the high court on an ‘experimental basis starting from September 18 till October 7.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni  said that the HC registrar will scrutinize and issue certificates to concerned advocate, who have a matter to appear before the benches hearing cases physically and based on this certificate, the railways would be issuing passes or tickets “for one particular day.”

The Court also said that the certificates issued should not be misused and in the event of such misuse, it is open for the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa to take action against concerned lawyers.

It also added that it will consider giving relief to lawyers wanting to attend physical hearings at trial court during the next hearing on October 6.

The bench was hearing a bunch of petitions seeking permission for advocates to travel in city’s local trains.

As of now, travel by special local trains has been restricted by the government for personnel employed in the state, municipal, health and essential services only.

Earlier on September 10, the court had suggested starting a system of issuing passes to HC lawyers to attend physical hearings on ‘experimental basis’. It also asked the Maharashtra government on how long it planned to restrict suburban train services because of the pandemic.

The court had also said that it has started physical hearings for criminal appeals in limited manner and judges were complaining that many lawyers were not able to appear before it due to lack of transport. “Maybe this (not permitted to travel in local trains) is one of the reasons,” CJ Datta said.

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