The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has put in place a post-lockdown plan, wherein restoration of physical hearing will resume in a phased manner. The tribunal is closed until May 15 in view of the nationwide lockdown — announced by the government on March 24 to prevent the spread of coronavirus and extended in two subsequent announcements until May 17.
"As and when the lockdown is lifted and normalcy returns, the tribunal would start functioning, albeit in a phased manner," SAT said in a notification dated May 8.
It further said that resumption of physical court hearings would be subject to compliance of social-distancing norms and other guidelines issued by it for all stakeholders. "For the first two weeks after reopening, only urgent matters would be taken up for hearing. What constitutes an urgent matter would be the prerogative of the bench. This would be reviewed periodically," the tribunal noted.
The tribunal ALSO said that it was taking preventive measures in its own internal functioning to ensure safety and wellness of its staff.
Besides, the tribunal said it planned to take similar steps in the interest of all stakeholders, including representative authorities and litigants, in order to ensure social distancing as well as hygiene. Accordingly, it had come out with several instructions for them, it explained.
For the time being, tribunal's staff would be required to report at 11 am instead of 9.30 am. Further, the tribunal will function from 11.30 am to 4.30 pm and these timings would be reviewed periodically. The decision was taken to avoid rush hours of local trains and buses.
In order to maintain social distancing and to ensure that courtroom is not overcrowded and till such time complete normalcy is restored, the tribunal said entry in the courtroom would be restricted.
Further, advocates have been requested to advice their clients not to come to the tribunal unless their presence is indispensable.
To avoid overcrowding inside the courtroom, at no point there should not be more than 20 advocates or authorised representative or litigant at a time inside the courtroom. Advocates and others need to ensure that they sit at a distance of two chairs in order to maintain social distancing.
Besides, wearing of masks in tribunal's premises would be mandatory, in addition, all stakeholders have been advised to download Aarogya Setu app on their respective mobile before starting for the tribunal.
These guidelines would remain in force till such time it is revised or supplemented from time to time, it said.