Madhya Pradesh High Court directs DMs of Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior to issue Covid passes for advocates

The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Tuesday disposed of a writ petition directing directed the District Magistrates of Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior city to issue movement passes to advocates, their juniors and advocate’s clerks for them to attend their offices during the ongoing lockdown/curfew necessitated by the coronavirus surge.

Petitioner Sunil Gupta, an elected member of the State Bar Council, Madhya Pradesh, filed the writ petition praying for a direction to the State authorities for modifying the orders issued under Section144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for exempting and permitting the mobility and movement of junior/associate advocates and clerks with advocate’s offices without any obstruction within the district limits of at least three districts of the State viz Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior.

Siddharth Gupta, the counsel for the petitioner, submitted that the members of the Bar especially at Bhopal and benches at Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior are facing difficulty because the state government has imposed curfew till May 17.

Even if the Courts are functioning by virtual mode, the advocates have to attend their office and their juniors and clerks have to come to assist them. Since the restriction has been placed on the movement of citizens everywhere, the authorities maybe required to issue necessary passes for the advocates, their colleagues and juniors, and advocate clerks to attend their office, claimed the Counsel.

Rajeshwar Rao, Government Advocate appearing for the State, submitted that the advocates, their associate advocates, and clerks may apply either online or off-line, for necessary passes on the specified routes for visiting their office, through the Bar Association of the individual place concerned to the District Magistrate of the area, who shall look into their grievances and do the needful.

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The division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul Sreedharan said, “Instead of keeping this writ petition pending, we dispose of the same with liberty to the advocate(s) concerned toapply to the District Magistrates of Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior,through the respective Bar Associations, for passes of the advocates, their juniors and advocate’s clerks, to enable them to attend their offices during the ongoing lockdown/Corona curfew, for the specified routes, from their residence to office and vice versa, who shall do the needful in that regard as warranted in law.”
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