New Delhi: With the spread of the coronavirus in mind, the Supreme Court of India has decided to hear only urgent matters from March 16.
A notification issued by the apex court on March 13 stated that the decision has been taken following the advisories issued by the government of India and after taking into account the view of public health experts.
The notification stated that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Government of India had issued an office memorandum on March 5, 2020 as “advisory cautioning against mass gathering”.
It added that the World Health Organization has also declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as global pandemic and advised against mass congregation.
The order said:
“On reviewing the advisory issued by the Government of India and in view of the opinion of public health experts including medical professionals and also considering the safety and welfare of all the visitors, litigants, lawyers, court staff, security, maintenance and support staff, student interns and media professionals, the Competent Authority has been pleased to direct that the functioning of the courts shall be restricted to urgent matters with such number of Benches as may be found appropriate.”
The notification, signed by SC secretary general S. Kalgaonkar, further stated that there would be a bar on who could be present in the court.
It said “no persons except the lawyers who are going to act in the matter, i.e. either for argument or for making oral submissions or to assist along with one litigant only, shall be permitted in the court room.”
The order also said that mentioning of matters will be made before the Mentioning Officer only.