With the nationwide lockdown announced by the Government of India extended till May 3 (originally till April 14, read my first report here), proceedings before the High Court of Delhi and the IP Offices have also been suspended till May 3. However, Courts are taking due measures to hear urgent matters and make up for the lost hours.
On April 9, the High Court of Delhi decided to cancel its summer recess, which runs from June 1 to June 30. The High Court and subordinate courts shall therefore continue to function during this period. Because of the extended lockdown, the Court has issued a new order suspending its operations till May 3, but mentioning and hearings of urgent matters shall continue as before through video conferencing.
Alive to the difficulties of the litigants, the Court has assured that the number of Benches, hearing matters through videoconferencing, would be increased further. Mentioning of urgent matters shall continue before designated Registrars/ Joint Registrars only by ‘Counsel on Record’.
Wherever any request for urgent mentioning is declined by the designated Registrar/Joint Registrar, the concerned "Counsel on Record" shall have an option to appeal to the Court that the case merits an urgent hearing. A one-page document explaining urgency can be uploaded to a portal (see here). The portal is active on all working days of the Court from 12 noon to 2.00 pm.
While all pending matters during the initial lockdown were re-notified for dates after April 15, new dates have been issued because of the extended lockdown:
All hearings before the IP Offices also stand suspended till May 3. A notice issued by the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks said that all offices under its administrative control shall not be physically accessible to public (in person) for a further hearing till May 3 and fresh dates will be notified soon.
The e-filing services shall, however, remain unaffected and would be available round the clock. However, the inability of parties or legal representatives to meet filing deadlines in view of the nationwide lockdown will not lead to a penalty, especially since the Supreme Court had waived the limitation period for all matters in courts and tribunals until further orders.
The IP Offices are expected to communicate freezing of deadlines, during the pendency of the lockdown, in their communications suspending further operations till May 3.