Amidst institutions across the country taking stern measures to combat the coronavirus, Supreme Court which reopened on Monday after a week-long Holi break is also taking steps to tackle crowd management and spread of the virus.
The Chief Justice of India called for an urgent meeting last evening to discuss measures that can be taken by the top court to avoid spread of the virus. The meeting was attended by Justice Arun Mishra, Justice UU Lalit, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice L. Nageswara Rao. Several prominent doctors like Dr Randeep Guleria from AIIMS and Dr Balram Bhargava from ICMR were also part of the meeting. Everyone in the room agreed that there could not be a complete shut down of the courts and at most, a possibility of a limited shut down could be thought of. As a result, only six of the courtrooms were functioning today.
Chief Justice of India said that the Supreme Court was “not well equipped” to handle large crowds. Soon after, Justice DY Chandrachud also said that the scenario in trial courts was different and “very difficult because the challenges were completely different”. He also said that “our intention is that the Court should not be the place to spread the virus”.
Justice Chandrachud, while addressing the Court also said that steps were being taken to tackle the problem. The CJI was in constant touch with the Chief Justices of all the High Courts to ensure proper measures were being taken in all judicial institutions across the country. He said that the next step was to move towards e-filings and virtual courts to minimise crowd interaction. “For this, there needs to be voluntary compliance by the lawyers and litigants and everyone else who comes to court,” Justice Chandrachud said.
The Supreme Court has also issued an advisory to avoid the spread of the virus. Under the circular, the Supreme Court has put in place the following precautionary measures: