New Delhi, September 6: At least 10 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the last week from different court complexes and the Delhi high court. Five of them were reported from Saket courts, one each from Rouse Avenue courts and the Karkardooma courts and three from the Delhi high court, Hindustan Times reported.
HT could not independently verify if the cases were a result of the courts starting in-person hearings last week. Five benches of the high court and one-fourth of the courts in each of the seven district courts had started physical hearings from September 1 on a rotational basis. Until then, the courts were working virtually through video conferencing.
Advocate Dhir Singh Kasana, secretary, Saket Bar Association, said three typists, an additional public prosecutor and a staffer at the photocopy department at the Saket courts tested Covid-19 positive. “We have been maintaining all norms and have also reduced the number of typists. But five reported positive at the Saket Courts Complex. We are taking all further precautions so that the number of cases does not increase,” Kasana said.
A circular issued by district and sessions judge Sujata Kohli, Rouse Avenue District Courts, on Friday said the judge who tested positive, and those who came in contact with the judge, was advised to take the necessary precautions.
At the high court, HT has learnt that three court officials working in the courts of three different judges, tested positive this week. HT has reliably learnt that some of them have mild symptoms and have quarantined themselves.
Before opening the courts for in-person hearings, detailed standard operating procedures and rules were put in place for lawyers and litigants, with entry into the premises restricted to just one advocate from each side per case.
Advocate Manish Bhadouria, member, Shahdara Bar Association, said the footfall has increased at the Karkardooma Courts Complex since in-person hearings began. He said even though the rules do not allow the entry of litigants, except when necessary or on specific orders, clients are coming to meet lawyers and they are being allowed in for the convenience of all parties concerned.
“We have to allow litigants or clients entry on many occasions as per the need of the case. Also, clients want to personally meet and discuss their case with lawyers.This is also a matter of our income, which has been severely hit during the lockdown period,” he said.