Chandigarh, July 7: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday said that as many as 500 employees and their relative have been quarantined since Covid-19 outbreak in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Apart from this, two additional district and sessions judges were tested positive and are under treatment, it said.
The reason for quarantine, the HC said was that some accused were produced in courts after their arrest and were subsequently tested positive for the disease, Hindustan Times reported.
“The HC is functioning in a restrictive manner to prevent spread of the virus. However, due to constant representations from different quarters, the functioning is being increased. As a result, more staff is required which seems to be the reason for the outbreak in different offices of the HC. All preventive measures are being taken,” the official said. The official was referring to partial closure of seven sections at the HC after an employee’s husband was found positive for the virus on Tuesday.
The high court is working in a restrictive manner since March 16. Similar is the condition in trial courts. However, a section of lawyers has constantly been demanding physical hearing of cases and increase in number of benches which take up cases through video conferencing so that more and more cases could be taken up.
Physical hearing is yet to start in the high court as well as in trial courts of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The courts are mostly taking up only those cases where ‘urgency’ is required. In pending cases, lawyers have to file an application for listing in case of some urgency. However, a few categories such as bail petitions are being taken up without any prior permission for listing. The hearings in old cases listed in July have been deferred between August 1 and October 31.