New Delhi, April 15
Supreme Court judge Justice MR Shah on Thursday said that all staff members at his official residence have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and “things are getting scary”.
Justice Shah, who was sitting on the Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud, rose before the scheduled lunch break after telling the participants about the coronavirus infection of his staff members.
When the bench re-assembled around 2 pm, Justice Shah, on being inquired about the wellbeing of those at the residence, said, “with the God’s grace I am ok. I am perfectly ok. Yes, things are getting scary”.
Justice Chandrachud adjourned hearing in other matters, except in the case in which proceedings were undergoing, saying since Justice Shah is busy in managing things at his home, the court will only take one item and then rise for the day.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati said the court should take its own time to deal with the situation when the information about the infection was shared by the judge.
Over 40 staffers of the apex court had tested positive for novel coronavirus infection a few days ago.
Amid sudden rise in COVID-19 cases, the apex court and its registry have come out with notifications and office orders to curb the rise in such infections.
One of the notifications suspended physical mentioning of cases for urgent hearing by advocates from April 12 till further orders.
On April 13, the top court’s Registry came out with an office order which allowed officials to work from home if they were not required to attend office on a given day and authorised registrars to regulate attendance.
It also said that if any employee or any member of his family is tested positive to the viral infection or has symptoms such as cough, cold and fever for more than three days, then he/she will have to intimate the concerned department for the purpose of contact tracing.
The non-observance of the instructions may entail administrative action under the Conduct Rules, the apex court registry said in its order.
Simultaneously, the top court also came out with additional precautionary measures for the entrants to its premises to contain the rapid spread of infection.
Under the new set of guidelines, all the entrants to the Supreme Court premises, including the Registry staff, staff of the coordinate agencies, advocates and their staff, if showing any symptoms similar to those notified for COVID-19 infection shall be subjected to Rapid/RT-PCR test.
The guidelines issued by the general administration section said all controlling officers shall ensure that the staff in their control wears masks, maintains physical distancing and frequently sanitizes/washes hands and follows the prescribed COVID appropriate behaviour.
It said that there shall not be any crowding or loitering in the campus and movement in common areas should be only for specific purposes and be completed within the minimum time.
The guidelines said the lift should not be used by more than three persons at a time and shall be used only for going upwards and for coming downstairs, stairs should be used. PTI