Gangtok, April 16: In an example of strict adherence to the lockdown guidelines, a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) on Tuesday stopped the official vehicle of a Sikkim High Court judge and disallowed it from crossing the state’s border. 

Justice Bhaskar Pradhan had dispatched his official car to bring his family from Siliguri to Gangtok. He had also obtained an e-pass, meant for essential services, from the district collector. However, when his driver reached the state border, the SDM on duty stopped the car and sought the details of the journey, The Free Press Journal reported.

The driver told SDM Prem Kamal Rai that he was going to bring back the family of Justice Pradhan. Upon hearing this, the SDM instructed the driver to turn back. The driver then spoke to Justice Pradhan who also instructed the driver to cooperate with the official and return.

Later, SDM Kamal Rai spoke to the Journal and shared the details about the incident. The official said that he was at the Rangpo check post when the judge’s official vehicle was stopped. He said that he then enquired with the driver, who told him that the car was going to Siliguri to pick up the judge’s family members.

“But I asked him to take a U-turn, as no vehicles were allowed to cross Sikkim borders, at least till lockdown is operational. The driver had a word with the judge on his phone and agreed to move back,” the Journal quoted Rai as saying. The official further said that he had been treating everyone like the way he treated the judge. The Justice too cooperated with the authorities and asked the driver to come back.

Fortunately, Sikkim has not reported any positive case of coronavirus. However, its border state West Bengal has so far reported 231 cases with 42 recoveries and 7 deaths. As the number of cases continue to rise, the Centre has extended the nationwide lockdown till May 3. During this time, only vehicles involved in essential services are allowed to move. All state borders have been closed and inter-state transport services have been shut till May 3.

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