ISLAMABAD-Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah Monday directed all courts under administrative control of the IHC to conduct hearing of only urgent cases till April 5.

In this regard, the IHC issued a circular stating that as most people are well aware that COVID-19 is a pandemic affecting most countries of the world, therefore in line with the policy given by the federal government in National Security Committee, Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah directed the adoption of the measures to implement the “social distancing” strategy in order to reduce the possibility of spreading of Coronavirus pandemic.

The IHC chief justice also constituted a Crisis Management Committee (CMC) comprising IHC judges, members of the bar association, representatives of health department, Deputy Commissioner and IHC Registrar.

The committee would review the situation periodically.

The circular further said, “Only urgent cases shall be scheduled in all courts and any other case which in the opinion of the District and Sessions judge is of urgent nature.”

It added that the judges nominated by district and sessions judge shall visit the concerned jails to process bail and remand cases and civil nature cases shall not be scheduled.

It also says that only one lawyer per case who has to appear or argue in a particular case in a court shall enter court rooms and all lawyers, parties and officials whose cases have not been fixed for the day, may avoid coming to the court premises in order to ensure social distancing.

The circular added that only those litigants shall be allowed to enter the courtrooms who have been specifically directed by the court to attend a hearing in person.

It maintained that the ministry of health would provide thermal temperature guns for premises entrances and anyone with symptoms like cough, fever, flu or breathing problems would be taken straight to dispensary by the police personnel at the entrance while in case of a suspect, he must be sent by police to PIMS quarantine ward.

The circular continued that no gathering of any kind shall be held in the courts’ premises and it is preferred that all persons including lawyers and litigants take precautionary measures themselves like wearing masks, carrying small had sanitizers and are advised to avoid shaking hand or physical contact.