A Supreme Court judge and his family have gone into self quarantines after one of the domestic staff was found to be COVID19 positive.
Sources say a sitting judge and his family are under quarantine at his official residence after the cook and a law clerk were found infected with the Coronavirus. Due to privacy reasons India Legal is not diclosing the name of the concerned judge. The cook reportedly was on leave since May 7 and it is believed that he had contracted the infection from his wife who had been to Safdarjung Hospital.
As a preventive measure the Judge, his family members and other residential staff who may have came into contact with the cook have been put under quarantine and will be subjected to medical tests to confirm the infection of COVID-19.
The development comes just days after a few staff of the Supreme Court were tested COVID positive and were put under quarantine. Also it remains to be seen if more judges and other staff of the court will also require to undergo quarantines.
The development comes even as the apex court had unveiled over the last two days to work through the summer dispensing the usual summer vacation. A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao, which has got the concurrence of other judges had recommended that normal functioning of the courts will start from Monday, May 18. The court had decided that hearings will be conducted from lawyers chambers. No sooner had the decision been made than eyebrows went up particularly among junior lawyers who do not have access to their own chambers inside the court complex.
Ever since the COVID-19 broke out and the lockdown was clamped, the Supreme Court has been hearing cases only urgent matter through video conferencing from the residence of Senior Judges. Lawyers were shared “codes” to enable them to participate in the hearing via video-conferencing. It did work mostly bit it was not without faults—many a time, inconvenience was caused when the link was broken but what was transpiring could be deciphered. Also there was no permanent set up at the residence of judges, thus making it imperative that each time a bench was nominated to hear a case, the technical team used to visit the residence of judges to install the system and other paraphernalia related to the systems.
It has also been decided that henceforth, judges and lawyers will not have to wear the gowns and robes. This information was given by CJI S A Bobde , who while responding a query from Kapil Sibal told the senior advocate that this was done with the aim of curbing the spread of COVID-19 to curb the spread of COVID-19.
All these development follow recommendations made by the committee, which suggested several measures including cutting the summer vacation and hearing cases via video-conferencing etc to make up for lost time due to the lockdown. In the wake of coronavirus pandemic, the top court had last month said that ‘’court hearing in the congregation must become an “exception” during the “extraordinary outbreak” of COVID-19 pandemic.’’
-India Legal Bureau