Novel Coronavirus and it’s impact on Judiciary

Delhi High Court Expresses concern over rising COVID cases in capital, seeks ATR

Since the novel coronavirus broke out, the world has witnessed many backdrops in the daily Government operations, business economies, education, and other institutions. Many services were stalled completely or were not in full operation. The same way business operations were stalled, one of the important functions among a state, its judicial functions were restricted with certain cases. There were special orders passé by the Supreme Court to all the subordinate court and the Chief Secretaries of states to take measure to control the overcrowding of jails. The Delhi High Court has also ordered to hear urgent matters only, and also assured the advocates in the court that, use of digital payment methods will soon be established with the stamp vendors and other areas to minimise human touch between people.

Precautions taken by the Supreme Court of India

1. The Supreme Court of India has taken an initiative of video conference to attend proceedings. This will minimise the human contact and also favour the court proceedings from not being stalled because of the pandemic.

2. This decision of video conferencing the court proceedings were taken on 15th march 2020. This was passed in a meeting the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde and four other judges of the Supreme Court.

3. The Apex Court has advised to entertain certain urgent matters only.

4. Supreme Court has also advised all the Courts in India to maintain their court hall sanitised and maintain minimum court in courts.

5. All the courts were advised to have sanitizers in hand, and it is the duty of the court officers to maintain a check on the sanitation processes.

Precautions taken by the Delhi High Court

1. The Delhi High Court in an emergency meeting of the High Court’s eight judge Administrative and General Supervision committee headed by the Hon’ble Chief Justice D.N. Patel and the President and the honorary secretary of the Delhi High Court Bar Association[i] has taken following decisions in order to contain the novel coronavirus

2. Considering the epidemic stalling of judiciary will cause trouble to the national activities, in order to contain the virus and help the judiciary not to stall the court is entertaining urgent matters only.

3. The proceedings are taken by video conference to minimise the human involvement in court halls.

4. Only people who are need with an unavoidable reason must attend the court.

5. As per the requests of many advocates, the stamp vendors in the court were supported with digitalised payment methods.

6. Non-touch thermal scanners were installed and necessary training was in process to put at existing check points.

Precautions Taken by Bombay High Court

1. Possible actions of implementing only 2 hours of working[ii].

2. Using video conference methods to address proceedings.

3. Take necessary sanitation requirements to control the virus.

Other Challenges Affecting Judicial Functions

1. Currently the courts are entertaining urgent matters only. And people who commit offences are still out there, as a case is selected based on its gravity the proceedings will be held, but the other cases will pile up everyday which will lead to heavy burden on the court in later time period.

2. As the number of cases pile up the number of people who are supposed to be presented in front of the court increase accordingly. This will in turn lead to overcrowding of jails.

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

End Notes

[i] Pti, Coronavirus: Delhi HC to issue more directions regarding court workings The Economic Times (2020), (last visited Mar 21, 2020).

[ii] Deepak Upadhyay, Coronavirus: 2-hour work day in Bombay HC, 3-hour for district courts from Tue Livemint (2020), (last visited Mar 21, 2020).

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