Bombay High court asked the Maharashtra government to consider allowing lawyers to board local trains for professional work and not relating to court proceedings. Further, the court also asked the state to consider the case of advocates who have to travel for work other than court filings. The two-judge bench of Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice G S Kulkarni observed, “Insofar as the lawyers having professional work not related to court proceedings as well as registered clerks, who have work to perform other than the physical filing of matters, this Court requests the Government to make a decision, preferably by tomorrow, and inform the same to the learned advocates for the same to the learned advocates for the petitioners.”
The state as a part of the mission begins program has witnessed the opening up of various sectors but due to the restriction in movement of local trains and other transportation facilities it has been very difficult for people to travel for work. Thus, the court ordered for opening up for such a mode of travel at least in the non-peak hours so that it is in the best interests of the workers. It is very important to think from the perspective of the daily wage workers, the staff of hotels, restaurants, cinemas, etc. who do not have the means of access to private transportation facilities and hence are extremely dependent on such public modes of transport. Further, the bench pleaded that such facilities shall also be available for legal clerks.
In such unprecedented times, it is integral that with all the necessary precautions the citizens must get back to work, and even though times are tough the need of the hour is to fight back. The bench gave time till 29th October to the state for considering the decision. The advocate general suggested two categories that can travel in the trains at two different hours so that social distancing norms can be maintained. The AG submitted that according to an observation the trains have fewer commuters during peak hours as compared to their capacity leading to a huge revenue loss. It was decided that all women will be allowed between 1100- 1500 hours irrespective of the engagement in essential and non-essential services.
The bench agreed that it is going to be a very challenging task but at the same time, its relevance cannot be ignored. Also, the earlier metro machinery won't suffice in the present COVID time and hence needs to be evolved as per the conditions and precautions. Separate entry and exit gates will be required. The hearing of the matter is listed on 29th October.