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Litigants and advocates "are like sitting ducks" waiting to fall prey to COVID-19, states the letter which has registered concern over the lack of precautionary measures in place at the High Court.
Following the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country, Advocate Arun Kumar Upadhyay has written to the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, expressing his concern over the lackadaisical approach of the Court in taking action to prevent the litigants and advocates from falling prey to the virus.
Quoting a 2016 observation made by a Division Bench of the Supreme Court, "Don't dig the well when the house is on fire", Upadhyay highlights that the Court has not taken up a single corrective measure to curtail viral transmission.
The letter points out that the Indian Government, the state Governments and various High Courts are playing their part in increasing awareness among people and in introducing measures to combat the virus. In this backdrop, the letter has appealed to the Chief justice to take the required steps in the same direction.
In this regard, the steps suggested by Advocate Upadhyay include banning entry of litigants, having a single entry point into the premises which would have machines installed for thermal scanning, disinfection of the court premises on a daily basis, proving liquid soap at all toilets and washbasins, etc,.
The letter further suggests that a temporary structure be set up outside the High Court, where litigants can affirm their affidavits before the oath commissioner. The oath commissioners should also be provided with a Personal Protective Equipment Kit, Upadhyay adds.
It has also been prayed that only extremely urgent matters be listed before the Court. If the concerned judges find such matters to be urgent, they should further be listed once all the advocates on record concerned also consent to the same, it is suggested.
Pending the implementation of such precautionary measures, Upadhyay has urged that the High Court be locked down.
[Read the letter here]