New Delhi, March 26: The Supreme Court called off all judicial work scheduled for Wednesday as a nationwide 21-day lockdown came into force. 

The court had put up a notice to this effect late on Tuesday night after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus infection. 

Though the advance list for the next two days shows some cases as listed for hearing, it is unlikely that the court will sit to hear these matters. However, there’s indication from the court so far. 

“Take notice that in view of the complete lockdown throughout the country for 21 days, wef from 24.3.2020, the matters listed, i.e. 25.2.2020 before the benches, comprising Justices DY Chandrachud & Surya Kant, and Justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose through video-conferencing will not be taken up and the same stand adjourned,” a notice by an additional registrar said on March 24, 2020. 

Chief Justice of India SA Bobde has so far been reluctant to completely shut down the courts for an indefinite period. The top court has only suspended operations, worked on a quick switch to interactive systems, which involve less human interface, to prevent the spread of the disease. 

The court has experimented successfully with a new mobile application—vidyo—which allows judges and lawyers to interact and decide cases without physical proximity. 

Although Delhi High Court and Allahabad High Court have shut down till April, there are many high courts which are still functional, though only important cases are being heard. Most courts have extended their interim orders for a month or so to allow things to get back to normal. 

The spread of Covid-19 has affected courts in other nations as well. Work in the courts in the US and UK were also disrupted as they scrambled to put in place systems which involve less human interface.

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