Supreme Court of India/File Photo
India's mounting COVID-19 crisis has struck the Supreme Court in a big way, with up to 50 per cent of its staff testing positive for the virus. In a huge blow to the court’s regular functioning, judges will now conduct hearings via video conferencing from their respective residences. As per reports, many staff members at judges' offices and the court registry have contracted the disease.
The entire court premise, including courtrooms, is now being sanitised and all the benches will now sit an hour later than the scheduled time. Additional Registrar, DEU said all the benches which are scheduled to sit at 10:30 am will sit at 11:30 am and those scheduled to sit at 11 am will sit at 12 noon in Supreme Court on Monday.
Earlier, many benches led by CJI S A Bobde and judges NV Ramana, RF Nariman, UU Lalit, AM Khanwilkar, Ashok Bhushan, LN Rao, SA Nazir, Navin Sinha were assembling on a bench in the courtroom. However, with the number of cases among staff members surging to an alarming rate, the CJI and the judges decided to take utmost precaution to prevent the situation like last year at least when six judges tested positive for COVID-19.
India is facing a grim situation with the rising number of infections as the country reels under the second wave of the pandemic. Hitting another record daily high of 1,68,912 new coronavirus infections, India's COVID-19 tally of cases climbed to 1,35,27,717, while the active cases breached the 11-lakh mark for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Sunday.
The death toll increased to 1,70,179 with 904 daily new fatalities, the highest since October 18, 2020, the data updated at 8 am showed.