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Full court meeting today to consider pleas to close Supreme Court

It is not safe to keep the court open, say lawyers’ associations

A full court meeting of all the 33 judges of the Supreme Court is scheduled at 12.30 p.m. on Monday to consider the repeated requests made by lawyers’ associations to close the court till further notice on account of the COVID-19 infection spread.

The meeting comes even as the Supreme Court has decided to hear cases via video-conferencing. This means that judges would sit in the courtroom and lawyers can make their submissions from a designated spot in the court premises. One such courtroom is that of the Chief Justice on Monday.

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The decision to hold the full court meeting is the result of resolutions passed separately by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAoRA) that it was not safe to keep the court open and to urgently shut it down.

The SCBA wants the court to close for at least four weeks from March 23.

The SCAoRA has urged the CJI and the judges to keep the general health and well-being of the court staff, lawyers, registry employees and the general public in mind and shut down the court from Monday for two weeks.

The past week had seen at least four to six benches sitting after the court re-opened after the Holi break on March 16. Though cursory measures have been taken like temperature guns, shutting of canteens and distribution of COVID self-declaration forms at entry points, the court premises witnessed crowds outside courtrooms, corridors, mentioning offices, entry points, and lawyers’ chambers etc.

The previous week had seen the court urgently take up the Madhya Pradesh political controversy case on a daily basis. The courtroom which took up the case had been crowded and the judges heard the arguments even after normal hours on Thursday.

“The CJI and the judges should consider the feelings and well-being of all stakeholders and declare vacation in the Supreme Court for four weeks from March 23,” the SCBA statement said.

The SCAoRA had suggested that the court could make up for the days lost by cutting short the summer vacation in May. Besides, Saturdays could also be used to hear cases once the scare was over, it said. The association suggested that interim orders passed so far could continue till further notice.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 2:07:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/full-court-meeting-today-to-consider-pleas-to-close-supreme-court/article31136642.ece

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