Calcutta High Court took the suo motu cognizance of the letter received by Advocate Mr D. C. Kabir regarding the grim state of affairs and challenges being faced by the people in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands due to complete lockdown in view of the Coronavirus (nCOVID-19) outbreak.
A bench led by the Chief Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan & Justice Dipankar Datta said, “access to Justice is multifaceted assistance to the people. It is not confined to mere access to courts. It spreads out and tickles down multifarious inalienable necessities for human existence and environment management. Provisions to support cohesive and comprehensive deliverance of matters connected with life is among the guarantees, including fundamental rights, in the Constitution. Therefore, we are of the view that the content of the letter petition requires to be addressed and remedial measures, as may be found necessary, ought to be pushed through as a first step in this regard.”
“Hence, we direct the Union of India and the Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands through Chief Secretary to respond immediately by sending reports over email to the Registrar General of this Court, which in turn shall be placed before us for Our consideration. Copy of this letter petition shall be forwarded to Union of India and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands by the Registrar immediately”, said Court.
Court constitutes a monitoring committee headed by the District Judge, with Judicial Secretary, the Superintendent of Police, South Andamans & the President of the Bar Association, Port Blair, as member, to not only ensure access to justice for all but also to act on behalf of the Court and to report on the Ground realities.
“Committee to make overall assessment of all relevant factors including supply of essential commodities and essential articles, medicines, fuel & availability of other support mechanism for the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The committee shall forward the first report to Registrar General of this Court by 30th March, 2020 by email”, said Court.
Court directed, “District Judge, Andaman and Nicobar Islands to notify the public at large that they may, in extremely urgent situation, file petition before the Registry with soft copies which will immediately be registered & transmitted to Registrar Kolkatta via email or other available mode for being placed before the Chief Justice. The Judicial Secretary, who is the Member Secretary of the State Legal services Authority, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, to similarly notify and upon receipt of any such petition citing extremely urgent situation requiring judicial intervention, the same shall be placed before the District Judge for registration and thereafter, in the same manner be placed before the Chief Justice for Consideration.”
The matter now would be heard on 31st March, 2020.
-India Legal Bureau