Wednesday, February 28, 2024

SC registry asks SCBA, SCAORA to curtail lawyers chambers’ timings in view of spike in Covid-19 cases, issues guidelines

The Supreme Court has written to the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Supreme Court Advocates-On-Record Association requesting to reduce timings of Lawyers chambers blocks in view of the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases and imposed night curfew in Delhi-NCR region.

The Supreme Court registry has issued guidelines in this regard as a precautionary measure in view of the growing concerns amid sudden upsurge of COVID19 cases. The guidelines read as COVID-19 additional guidelines for entrants to the Supreme Court premises. By its letter dated, the Assistant Registrar Supreme Court has requested to the Learned Advocates of the respective Bar Associations to cooperate in this regard, i.e.;
1- The timings of the Lawyers Chambers Blocks and other areas used by the Ld. Members may be reduced considering the reduction in number of cleaning and conservancy staff and as well as to enable such staff to leave early because of curfew hours being imposed in NCR Delhi and neighbouring States;
2- The opening of Lawyers Chambers May be done strictly as per the roster put in place by the Bar and the existing practice of thermal screening of all entrants in the Lawyers Chambers Blocks and maintenance of record/register of entrants for contact tracing purposes may be scrupulously followed.

“Cooperation of Ld. Members of the Bar is solicited in order to ensure safety and well being of all the stakeholders within the campus from the upsurge of COVID-19 cases,” it said.

The Supreme Court has issued the above guidelines in addition to its previous Office order dated 13th April 2021, mandating Rapid Antigen/RT-PCR tests for all entrants like Registry staff, Staff of the Coordinate agencies, Ld. Advocates and their staffs etc showing any symptoms similar to those of Covid-19 infections.

Those with symptoms like fever, cough, body ache, loss of taste and smell, diarrhea, etc. shall restrict themselves from coming to office/premises, isolate themselves immediately, and seek medical advice, the court had said earlier. 

The court had directed all controlling officers to ensure that their staff follow the Covid protocols like wears mask, maintains physical distancing, and frequently sanitizes/washes hands.

No crowding or loitering in the campus and movement in common areas shall be allowed except for specific purposes and should be within the minimum time. Also, the usage of lift has been restricted for coming downstairs, and more than 3 persons at a time shall be allowed to use only for going upwards, it had said.

The Court said, the new measures shall be in addition to the existing protocols already in place vide Circulars issued by the Registry from time to time, and such other steps as may have been taken with a view to containing the spread of Covid-19 infection within the Supreme Court of India premises. 

Read Also: UP Law Minister Brajesh Pathak writes to Lucknow DM to set up RTPCR test centres, convert community halls into Covid hospitals

Faced with the unprecedented outbreak of a pandemic, the three-judge bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justices Dr D.Y. Chandrachud, and L. Nageswara Rao, had earlier called for the functioning of courts through video conferencing. The bench had said that it was necessary that Courts at all levels respond to the call of social distancing and ensure that court premises do not contribute to the spread of the virus.



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