The Supreme Court on Monday said that lawyers chambers inside the Court premises to be closed down due to COVID19. The apex court also said that there will be no more in-person hearings till further orders. The Court will conduct video conferencing to hear urgent matters. Members of the Bar, office staff and the Supreme Court registry staff would also not be working till April 4 in view of the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed 7 lives across the country so far. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said the apex court administration would temporarily cancel all proximity cards to dissuade lawyers from coming to the court.
The bench, also comprising justices L N Rao and Surya Kant, said only Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Dushyant Dave could authorise lawyers to enter the top court premises for urgent reasons. It said there would be no gathering of lawyers on the court premises till further orders. The chief justice said he would take a call on Monday itself on a possible shut down or to advance the summer vacations, as demanded by the lawyers' organisations.
The issue of shutting down the apex court's functioning was raised by the SCBA president and the members of the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday appealed to the countrymen to take the lockdown seriously and protect their families along with them. Modi also requested the state governments to strictly follow the rules and regulations. The Prime Minister tweeted: "Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Please save yourself, save your family, follow the instructions seriously. I request the state governments to follow the rules and Get the laws done".
The Centre has asked state governments to strictly enforce lockdown and take legal action against violators. The Centre and state governments on Sunday decided to completely lock down 80 districts across the country where coronavirus cases have been reported till March 31.
India's death toll from the epidemic rose to eight as a 68-yer-old Philippines man who had recovered died in Mumbai. The nation-wide number of confirmed cases also went up to 415 with more cases being reported from Maharashtra.