The Additional Registrar of Supreme Court has notified yesterday (March 22, 2020) that on Monday (March 23, 2020) hearing will be conducted only in the Chief Justice’s Court by a bench comprising of CJI SA Bobde, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Surya Kant at 11 am.
A bench comprising of CJI and Justice DY Chandrachud will take up matters through video conferencing as per the cause list issued on March 21, 2020.
The matters listed in Court No. 2,8 and 14 have been adjourned.
Another notification has been issued by the Secretary General stating that only one bench comprising of 2 judges will be available to transact judicial work in the forthcoming week through video-conferencing mode.
The circular issued in this regard reads,
"Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India has, after consulting his colleagues, directed that during the course of the ensuing week, a Bench of two Hon’ble Judges, as may be necessary to hear extremely urgent cases, will be available to transact judicial work."-Supreme Court Circular
The guidelines states that special rooms equipped with required facilities are established to enable members of bar to appear through video conferencing mode.
Moreover, the office of registry will remain closed from March 23-28. However, all the officers and the staff have been instructed to remain available in case the concerned registrar requires their presence for rendering duty in connection with urgent hearing.
Supreme Court Advocate-On-Record Association have resolved to abstain from appearing till April 04, 2020 in accordance with lockdown guidelines imposed by Delhi Government due to spread of COVID-19.
Over the past few days, the central and various state governments have shut down educational institutions, shopping malls, and cinema halls. Some states like West Bengal and Mizoram have sealed their international borders. On March 11, India suspended all visas till April 13 to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
The Centre has asked all state governments to designate hospitals for treatment of Covid-19 patients. Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava said, “After our discussions with the state health secretaries, it has been decided that patients would get better care if one facility is designated for treatment of Covid-19 patients. Like National Cancer Institute (Jhajjar) under AIIMS is an 800-bed hospital and will be designated for Covid care.” The government’s steps have come based on discussions where doctor felt that India needed to “break the chain of transmission.”
Millions of people across the country are staying indoors as several states are locked-down in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus. Delhi, Rajasthan, Parts of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand are among the states where the government has announced complete lockdown from Monday.
Barring essential services, all government offices, educational institutes, autonomous bodies, business establishments, private offices, malls, shops, factories, godowns and public transport will remain closed in these areas.
However, is India’s move to lockdown much of the world’s second-most populous country enough to soften the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, is something to ponder upon.
Author: Aarya Mishra