In accordance to the lockdown orders by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 24th March 2020, the Kerala High Court ordered the police to not make any arrests except in urgent cases. The court however directed the police to take adequate actions in cases of heinous crimes.
The court stated that in order to not let advocates and litigants suffer during this lockdown, as per Articles 226 and 227 of the constitution, all the interim orders passed by all the Courts/Tribunals upon which High Court exercises supervisory jurisdiction under Article 227, which are due to expire during the lock down period of 21 days, would be extended by one month.
In matters of recovery such as electricity, water and others, payment will be deferred up to 3rd April, 2020, and therefore, no recovery proceedings would be initiated or recovery proceedings already initiated, would not be proceeded further until 3rd April, 2020.
Orders of bail or anticipatory bail would also be getting an extension of one month as per the directions of the court.
Taking into account the hardships faced by prisoners owing to the outbreak of Coronavirus, the court ordered the Executive Chairman of the State Legal Services Authority, the Principal Secretary and the Director General of Prisons to adhere to the directions issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Suo Motu Writ Petition (C) No.1/2020. The Supreme Court had made clear in the writ petition stating that the State/Union Territories could consider release of persons who are convicted or under trial, for offences for which prescribed punishment is up to 7 years or less, with or without fine.
The Kerala High Court also ordered the State Government, LSG Institutions, Government of India, and Public Sector Undertakings owned and controlled by the State/Central Governments to not take any coercive actions since there is no opportunity for people to visit courts in such a situation.
Thepresent order was passed by the HC bench comprising of Chief Justice S Manikumar, Justices C K Abdul Rehim and C T Ravikumar.