CJI to review functioning of apex court every 3-4 days, says SCBA Secy

New Delhi: Chief Justice S A Bobde will review the functioning of the apex court every three to four days in consultation with other judges and officials of health ministry in view of the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, an office bearer of SCBA said.

Advocate Ashok Arora, secretary of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), said the demand from bar leaders and other bodies that summer vacation this year be preponed can wait for a while and till then status quo with regard to functioning is to be maintained.

“I spoke to Chief Justice of India (CJI) on April 10 at 12 noon and was informed that he was going to review the situation after every 3/4 days after consulting the other Judges and health ministry. Till then status quo. So better, we wait for a while,” Arora said.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Dinesh Goswami, has written to the CJI requesting suspension of summer vacation.

He said the way COVID-19 cases are increasing in the country it is neither advisable nor prudent to start the normal working of either the Supreme Court, the High Courts or the sub-ordinate courts.

At the same time, he said, because of all the courts remaining closed/ non-functioning/ partially functioning have left the courts burdened with heavy load of work.

“It is therefore, in terms of the above situation, my humble request to the Chief Justice of India, head of the judiciary, that the lockdown maybe extended at least up to April 30 and it is also urged that the summer vacations of the educational institutions and all the courts all over the country including the Supreme Court of India may be suspended considering the present emergent epidemic situation,” he said.

The top court on March 23 virtually went into the lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus and had suspended for indefinite period the entry of advocates and other staff in the high security zone on the basis of their proximity cards.

The top court, without specifying any date, had said that court will only sit to take up “extremely urgent matters” through video conferencing and had directed that the lawyers’ chamber and offices in the premises of apex court will be closed till further orders.

The CJI had on same day said that he would review the situation and take a call on a possible shut down or to advance the summer vacation this year, as demanded by the lawyers’ organizations.

The issue of shutting down the apex court’s functioning and preponing of summer vacation has been raised by the SCBA president and the members of the SCAORA in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, the Delhi High court decided to suspend its summer vacation this year, slated from June 1 to 30, to make up for the loss of working hours due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

The high court also cancelled the summer break of subordinate courts in June this year.

The decision was taken at a meeting by Delhi High Court Chief Justice D N Patel and other judges considering the severe hardship and difficulties being faced by litigants on account of the lockdown and consequent suspension of functioning of the courts that are currently hearing matters of extreme urgency only through video conferencing.

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