The National Green Tribunal issued instructions regarding its functioning from May 4, when the COVID-19 lockdown is slated to be relaxed, stating that the Chairperson, Members and officers (Deputy Registrars and above) will attend the Office with 100 per cent attendance. As for the remaining staff, up to 33 per cent of the strength will physically attend the office as separately notified from time to time, the NGT said.
According to the office order issued by the NGT, the section heads/incharge of all sections shall prepare rosters of staff required to attend office physically by rotation and the staff members not required to present physically at the office. However, they shall always remain available on phone and electronic means of communication, and shall attend office physically as and when required, it said.
“Considering the health and safety of lawyers / public / litigants / staff, till the situation of corona improves, judicial work will be conducted by the Benches of NGT only by Video Conferencing, without physical presence/appearance of parties or their counsel in the NGT complex,” the circular said. It said that only online filing (e-filing) of cases will be allowed and no physical filing is permitted. It further said: “The parties/lawyers may request for listing or adjournment of their cases or make urgent mentioning, by sending an email in advance to “mailto:email@example.com”firstname.lastname@example.org.
All communication with NGT qua listing of cases, filing of documents/reports, filing of written submissions / synopsis / audio of oral submissions (if any) etc. shall be done only through this email ID.” The decision has been taken in light of order issued by of the government on the subject of functioning of Government establishments during lockdown period on account of pandemic COVID-19, requiring 100 per cent attendance of the officers of level of Deputy Secretary and above and up to 33 per cent attendance of remaining staff.
The office order further said that the lawyers and litigants desirous of participating personally in video conferencing hearings are required to send request at the above email ID in advance, giving their names, case title, case number, date of hearing, e-mail IDs and mobile numbers. “For VC hearings, NGT shall be using Vidyo App whereby users can join Vidyo room from their mobile phones/laptops/desktops having adequate internet facility. Vidyo App can be downloaded from link given in website “http://ecourtvc.nic.in/”ecourtvc.nic.in as well as Google Play Store (for android) and Apple Store (for iOS).
If request for personal hearing through VC is permitted by the Bench, the time and link with one-time password for VC hearing shall be shared with the parties by the Office,” the communication said. Entry to NGT complex shall be restricted only to its staff and all the safety and precautionary guidelines issued by the government shall be scrupulously followed by all concerned, the office order said.
“Staff shall maintain social distancing norms and protocols, shall wear face masks throughout, shall pass through thermal scanner at entry gate and shall sanitise/wash hands at appropriate intervals. There shall be no crowding at any place / branch in NGT complex and seating of staff shall be arranged accordingly,” it said. The office order said, “The NGT complex, including surfaces of furniture and frequently touched objects, shall be sanitised with disinfectants on daily basis. This shall be subject to further modification if and when further instructions are received from the government.”