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Coronavirus outbreak | SC to restrict hearings to urgent cases only

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

Notification says the functioning of the court on reopening on March 16 will be restricted to urgent matters and entry to courtrooms limited in the wake of the spread of COVID-19.

Supreme Court Secretary General Sanjeev S. Kalgaonkar on Friday issued a notification that functioning of the court on reopening on March 16 will be restricted to urgent matters and entry to courtrooms limited in the wake of the COVID-19 scare.

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Nobody, except lawyers who are representing a case and the litigant concerned, would be allowed in the courtroom. Mentioning of urgent cases would be made before the officer concerned of the court.

The notification does not specify for how long the restrictions would continue.

The notification comes after meetings held by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde with fellow judges, Health and Law Ministry officials and advocates' bodies.

The court was scheduled to reopen on March 16 after the Holi break.

The notification refers to the advisory issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on March 5 against mass gathering.

The court's notification said the World Health Organisation had also declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic advising against mass congregation. 

The first week after a break in the apex court is usually very crowded. This is because a large number of cases, mostly PILs, are listed during the first week following a holiday.

"The advisory issued by the Government of India and in view of the opinion of public health experts including medical professionals and also considering the safety and welfare of all the visitors, litigants, lawyers, court staff, security, maintenance and support staff, student interns and media professionals, the Competent Authority has been pleased to direct that the functioning of the courts from Monday, 16 March, 2020 shall be restricted to urgent matters with such number of Benches as may be found appropriate," the notification said.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 4:16:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-outbreak-sc-decides-to-restrict-hearings-to-urgent-cases-only/article31061032.ece

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