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Supreme Court to restrict hearings to urgent cases from March 16

NEW DELHI: In view of the coronavirus spread, the Supreme Court on Friday decided that only urgent matters shall be taken up for hearing and no persons except lawyers concerned will be allowed inside courtrooms.

“On reviewing the advisory issued by the government of India and in view of the opinion of public health experts including medical professionals and also considering the safety and welfare of all the visitors, litigants, lawyers, court staff, security, maintenance and support staff, student interns and media professionals, the competent authority has been pleased to direct that the functioning of the courts shall be restricted to urgent matters with such number of benches as may be found appropriate,” the Supreme Court said in a notification after a meeting presided over by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.

It said no person except the lawyers who are going to appear in the matters shall be permitted in the courtrooms.

The limited entry will begin from March 16, when the court will re-open after Holi vacations and this shall continue till further orders.

The decision was taken after taking note of the severity of the situation as well as increasing number of coronavirus cases reported across the country as allowing a large number of lawyers and litigants to congregate in the court premises could expose everyone to serious risk of virus infection.