India’s supreme court has given the nod to start court proceedings through video conferencing, to avert a complete shutdown of the legal system amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision was made yesterday (March 15) in a meeting between chief justice of India, SA Bobde, and four other supreme court judges. Since virtual courts are on the verge of commencement, the meeting decided that a limited shutdown may be considered, said a press release yesterday by the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association.
This drastic measure comes as more Covid-19 cases are being reported in India.
The country has till now reported two deaths and up to 110 positive coronavirus cases.
The Calcutta high court and its subordinate courts have decided to hear only urgent matters from March 17, in order to avoid mass gatherings, news agency PTI reported on March 15. The Kerala high court registrar, on March 12, asked all district judges to consider only cases of urgent importance.
Over the past few days, the central and various state governments have shut down educational institutions, shopping malls, and cinema halls. Some states like West Bengal and Mizoram have sealed their international borders. On March 11, India suspended all visas till April 13 to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
Yesterday, while updating the number of quarantined passengers coming to India from the coronavirus-affected countries, the government assured it has enough testing capacity.
The assurance came even as suppliers struggled with a shortage of preventive products. The southern state of Kerala, meanwhile, has found a partial solution for this: It has got its prisons to manufacture masks.
Yesterday, in a video conference meeting with leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations, prime minister Narendra Modi proposed an emergency Covid-19 fund.