In a massive blow in its attempts to return to normal functioning, at least three judges of the Madras High Court have tested positive for COVID-19 reportedly resulting in it deciding to restrict its functioning until the month end.
Accordingly, the administrative committee meeting of the High Court, which met on Friday decided to revert back to hearing just urgent matters through two division benches and four single judges and that to from their residences similar to the manner the high court functioned immediately after the first phase of lockdown had commenced.
Thereafter, the High Court on June 1 while ruling out the feasibility of physical court hearing despite several plea from advocate bodies, expanded it to video conference hearing of all cases by all the 33 judges in their respective assigned jurisdiction.
The High Court registry, when contacted, while refusing to deny the aspect that certain judges have tested positive insisted that all details pertaining to the change would be put on the website soon.
But informed sources confirmed that the judges testing positive was not owing to the spread emanating from within the high court but through their personal staff like drivers while another judge had got it from a wedding, he attended. In the instance wherein a cook employed in a judge’s place had tested positive, the judge had reportedly tested negative.
However, a few other judges who had come in contact with the judges who had tested positive have been subjected to Coronavirus test while a couple of judges whose drivers had tested positive have home quarantined themselves.
Sources also indicate that since the judges who tested positive were asymptomatic, they have also been home quarantined.
-India Legal Bureau