Coronavirus pandemic: Supreme Court orders sealing of all lawyers’ chambers, hearing in urgent cases to be taken up virtually

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Updated: March 23, 2020 1:22:48 PM

The Supreme Court said hearing in urgent matters to be carried out through virtual means. It has also ordered to seal all lawyers' chambers in and around the court premises.

coronavirus outbreak Coronavirus: Supreme Court says hearing in urgent matters to be carried out through virtual means.

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered to seal all lawyers’ chambers in and around the court’s premises by Tuesday evening to check the spread of coronavirus. The top court also said there will be no gathering of lawyers in court premises till further orders.

CJI SA Bobde said he will take a call by today itself on a possible shutdown or preponing the summer vacation. The lawyer bodies had urged the CJI to shut down the court in the backdrop of rising Covid-19 cases.

The court further ruled that hearing in urgent matters will be carried out only through virtual means. Besides, it has decided to cancel all proximity cards to dissuade lawyers from coming to the court.

To ensure social distancing, the court said only the Supreme Court Bar Association president can authorise lawyers to enter court premises for urgent reasons.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Advocates On-Record Association has already declared that lawyers and advocates working in the top court will not be working till April 4 following an announcement by the Delhi government to lockdown the national capital till March 31.

Earlier this morning, the Centre asked state governments to strictly enforce the lockdown and take legal action against violators. The Centre and state governments on Sunday decided to completely lock down till March 31 the 80 districts across the country where coronavirus cases have been reported.

According to the Health Ministry data, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country surged to 415 on Monday morning, a spike from the 360 figure the night before. The figure includes 41 foreign nationals and seven deaths. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said 18,383 samples have been tested till 10 am on Monday.

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