The Maharashtra government on Friday told the Bombay High Court that it has rejected the representations made by lawyers from the city seeking that legal services be recognised as essential services and that lawyers and their staff be allowed to travel by local trains.
On August 5, the secretary of the state Disaster Management Relief and Rehabilitation unit had passed an order saying that it was not possible at this stage to permit lawyers and their staff to use local train services and to declare them as essential services, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said.
He told this to a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice A S Gadkari. "However, in future when the COVID-19 situation improves, the state government will consider the request made by the lawyers on priority," he said.
The court was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations and applications filed by several lawyers, saying that in the absence of permission to use local trains, lawyers and their staff were unable to reach courts.
The pleas said that while the high court has been conducting hearings through video-conferencing, several lower courts still require one's physical presence owing to the infrastructure issues or lack of adequate internet connectivity.
The court on Friday took on record the order passed by the government and said the petitioners could take necessary steps in accordance with law.