The Supreme Court has issued 14 point health advisories to maintain social and physical distancing
After a hiatus of four months, courts in Bangladesh are set to reopen after the Eid-ul-Azha holidays from August 5.
The Supreme Court said all civil and criminal courts as well as the tribunals will resume usual operation after the holidays, in an official notification on Thursday.
Supreme Court Spokesperson Mohammad Saifur Rahman said a separate notification was issued stipulating the guidelines for maintaining health safety at the courtrooms and the court premises.
Guidelines to follow on court premises
The Supreme Court has issued a 14-point instruction to maintain safety on the court premises including maintaining physical and social distancing, and preparation of separate area with glass protections on the dock and witness box.
Considering the current situation, judges and lawyers will temporarily wear white shirt or white sari or salwar kameez and white neck band/ black tie, it said.
The district judges or metropolitan session judges or chief metropolitan magistrates or chief judicial magistrates will take necessary steps on installation of basins and soaps for hand wash facilities at the entrance points of courts and in visible places, the guideline said.
All the attendees present at the courts must have to refrain themselves from touching their nose, mouth and eyes, it added.
Everyone present on court premises must wear masks and hand gloves.
People must avoid visiting courts unless absolutely necessary, while arrangements have been made to check body temperature at entrance for all visitors on the court premises.
No one shall be allowed to enter on the court premises if they have any Covid-19 symptoms, or have temperature more than 100 degree fahrenheit or if they come in contact with any Covid-19 positive patients.
Body temperatures of all the visitors must be scanned with thermal scanners during their entry into the court dock, the Supreme Court directive said.
The concerned judges will fix the time of the hearing and the process in a way that it does not make any crowd at the court room or in dock. The judges will proceed to next case only after all the related persons of a case leaves the room.
Only six people can be present at a hearing including maximum of two lawyers from each side. Each of the attendees must maintain six feet distance between one another in court room, the guideline mentioned.
The seating arrangement in different sections and offices will have to be prepared in such a way so that all officials or staffers can maintain a six feet distance.
It will not be mandatory to bring an accused from prison to the court during a bail hearing or setting of next hearing dates, it added
The Supreme Court also said the judges can take any protective measures instantly to ensure social and physical distancing and other health advisories to follow to keep people safe from getting infected by Covid-19.
For deputation of police at the courts or their transfer, the concerned superintendent of police or deputy commissioner of police will take necessary measures in consultation with the district judge or metropolitan session judge or chief metropolitan magistrate or chief judicial magistrates and will help implement the Covid-19 health advisories.
Disinfectants will be used in sanitizing public places, necessary equipment, court rooms and furniture, while court documents will also have to be cleaned properly.
Also, distancing will have to be ensured in public places like court rooms, corridors, lifts and hallways.
The Supreme Court also banned opening of any shops on court premises while no mobile shops will be allowed as per the guidance.
Necessary measures will have to be made in public places on the court premises to create awareness on health advisories as well, the guideline said.
Courts closed since March 26
Courts across Bangladesh have remained closed from March 26, after the government declared general holiday in a bid to curb Covid-19 infection.
However, all legal proceedings later resumed on a limited scale through virtual hearings.