In light of the COVID-19 situation in West Bengal, the Calcutta High Court resolved on Friday to extend the duration of all interim decisions issued by the High Court and its subordinate courts, including the Tribunals inside West Bengal and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, until August 20, 2021. A Full Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justices IP Mukerjee, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen, and Subrata Talukdar issued an order to that effect.
We extended the interim orders imposed in this Writ Petition till August 20, 2021, in light of the West Bengal government’s extension of restrictions related to the Covid-19 epidemic,” the order stated.
On March 24, 2020, the first such order was issued. This order’s applicability was extended until June 30 on April 23, and again until September 30 on June 24. The Court ruled on August 7 to prolong the duration of interim orders until November 30. It was extended in November until February 28, 2021, and then until March 31, 2021.
Apart from extending the duration of interim court orders, the August 7 ruling had also allowed for the following;
- Any party who is impacted by the continuance of interim orders will be able to petition to have them vacated or modified. This shall also apply to all orders issued after March 15, 2020, by this Court or any Subordinate Courts or Tribunals.
- Court rulings permitting the possession of any premises subject to the payment of rent or occupational charges shall remain in effect despite the non-payment of rent or occupational charges from March 15 to November 30.
- If rent or occupancy costs are not submitted under rent control laws, the tenant or occupant will not be responsible for eviction until November 30 or earlier decisions of the Court.
- Regardless of whether or not the requirements set have been met, all other conditional orders of the Court will remain in effect until further orders. This will apply to non-compliance with the requirements from March 15 to November 30, as well as any prior court rulings.
- This ruling will also apply to orders issued by the High Court’s Original Side.
Last March, the Court decided to dismiss a suo motu writ petition filed to determine whether to prolong interim orders amid the epidemic, claiming that such restrictions did not need to be extended until March 31. However, when COVID-19 limitations were re-imposed in the state, the High Court has resurrected these actions and prolonged the duration of interim orders once again. On August 13, the case will be examined again and will be considered.
-Report by ESHAN SHARMA