COVID-19: Four SC Judges Test Positive, Over 150 Staff Under Quarantine
Five of the eight top officials designated as Registrars have also been reportedly quarantined.
Four judges of the Supreme Court have tested positive for COVID-19, and over 150 of its staff members have either tested positive for the virus or are under quarantine, reported NDTV, citing officials.
Five of the eight top officials designated as registrars have also reportedly been quarantined. Of the 32 judges at the court, including the Chief Justice of India, four have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, taking its positivity rate to 12.5.
The development comes even as a red alert was issued in the Supreme Court, after its positivity rate reached 12 percent on Saturday, 8 January.
Under the Delhi government's Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), a red alert is issued if the positivity rate remains more than 5 percent for two consecutive days. Times of India reported that the positivity rate among the judges at the Supreme Court remained 5 percent since the last three days.
Earlier on Thursday, 6 January, two judges of the apex court had tested positive.
According to news reports, a judge, who attended the farewell party of Justice R Subhash Reddy, while he was having fever is suspected to have spread the virus to his bench colleagues and judges. The said judge has since tested positive for COVID-19.
On Thursday, the Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana had said, "Unfortunately, again the problem has started and we are also conscious of this... It seems, we may not be able to hear cases through physical mode for the next four to six weeks," reported NDTV. He along with four other senior judges held a meeting to review the ongoing pandemic situation on this day.
As a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amid rising infections of the Omicron variant, the court had already switched to virtual mode. The court on Sunday, 2 January, issued a circular saying it would switch to virtual hearings for the next two weeks from Monday, 3 January.
With effect from 7 January, the administration has asked the benches of the top court to sit at the residential offices. "Only extremely urgent 'mentioned' matters, fresh matters, bail matters, matters involving stay, detention matters, and fixed date matters will be listed before the courts from 10 January till further orders, a circular issued by the administration noted.
The top court had switched to a hybrid mode this October after a year of virtual sessions following the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020.
Meanwhile, India reported 1,59,632 fresh COVID-19 cases, 40,863 recoveries, and 327 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said on Sunday, 9 January. The country has confirmed 3,623 cases of Omicron variant from 27 states and Union territories so far.
(With inputs from NDTV, Times of India)
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