Supreme Court of India, in a circular issued on Saturday, stated that only urgent matters that required short hearings and death penalty cases will be taken up from Monday, April 20 onwards. The SC had earlier issued fresh guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOP) to be adopted by advocates and litigants during hearing of matters of "extreme urgency".
The circular read, "Take notice that short category matters, death penalty matters and matters related to family law, which are ready, maybe listed for hearing through video conferencing mode subject to availability of the concerned bench and prior approval of Hon’ble The Chief Justice of India."
While cases that need a short hearing will be heard via video conferencing, review and curative petitions will be heard in judges’ chambers. Review of death penalty cases will be heard in open court.
The number of total Coronavirus cases in the country has climbed to 15,707, while the death toll increased to 507. On Saturday evening, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) released data stating that 3.72 lakh tests had been conducted till 9 pm, of which 16,365 had come in positive. The council conducted 35,494 tests on Saturday and reported 2,154 positive cases of the virus.
The country is currently in the second phase of the nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14 and will go on till May 3.