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After a week-long Holi break, the Supreme Court reopened today with limited and restricted functioning. A series of preventive measures are being followed at the premises to combat the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
Last week, the Apex Court decided to function in restricted manner for the time being, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Preventive measures have now been imposed, with the Court requesting for cooperation from lawyers, court staff, litigants, media personnel, and others.
Only six Division Benches are sitting each day. Only those advocates who are required to make submissions would be permitted entry into the court rooms, the Court had said.
Various steps, including capping the number of litigants to one person per party and restricting entry of members of the press inside the court rooms, have been taken by the Court. This, to ensure that there is no overcrowding inside the court rooms, given that the Coronavirus is highly contagious.
However, the lack of clarity on how the system would function in this unprecedented situation led to crowding of the corridors this morning, given that various persons were denied entry inside court rooms.
Chief Justice of India SA Bobde is expected to assess and take stock of the situation himself, as was hinted by him during a special and unanticipated hearing held today.
All the entry points at the Supreme Court are also manned by medical health professionals, in addition to security personnel. The medical health professionals are conducting thermal screening of every person entering the Supreme Court premises.
Self-declaration forms are required to be submitted by every entrant. Details on overseas travel history during the past fortnight as well as those of flu symptoms, if any, are required to be declared.
The circulars that were issued by the Supreme Court had also advised people to refrain from coming to the Court unless absolutely necessary.
This sytem is likely to remain in place till further orders.
On the first day of Supreme Court's restricted functioning for urgent matters, the Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah was the last to rise, at a little after 3 PM.