Recently Supreme Court of India, in the public interest and obliging the statutory rules and guidelines passed by the Government of India, decided that the court shall hear only important cases which need urgent attention and adjudication.
On 16 March, only six benches took up cases, including Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah, Justices U U Lalit and Vineet Saran, Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta, Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhatt, and Justices S K Kaul and Sanjiv Khanna. The Apex Court took only 12 urgent matters.
The cause list comprised hearing of anticipatory bail pleas of civil rights activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde, accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case, and the plea of Mukesh Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder.
Usually, 15 benches of the Supreme Court sit on Monday and Friday and miscellaneous matters are taken up on other days. But, the Court in the public interest notified to take up only 12 urgent matters. On March 16, the Judges first took six matters as listed and then took a half an hour break and then took next six items listed for the day.
This extreme policy was taken to reduce overcrowding in the courtroom as a precautionary measure against the virus. Not only the courtroom but cafeterias, including the departmental canteen of the apex court were advised to remain closed until further orders.
Moreover, the Apex Court decided to have thermal check-up entry in the judicial complex. The check-up shall check the blood pressure of all the litigants, judicial officer, pleading counsel and the respective judicial members including judges of the court.