3 Madras HC judges test positive for Covid-19, court operations restricted

After three judges of the Madras High Court tested positive for coronavirus, the court has decided to hear select cases through video-conferencing. Only two Division Benches and three single judges would hear cases through video conferencing from their residences from Monday so as to limit court staff deployed for official work.

Immediately after a nationwide lockdown was announced by the Centre from March 24 this year, the High Court had restricted its functioning too and decided to work with just two Division Benches and three single judges for hearing urgent cases alone.

However, then, physical hearings were held in the court halls until April 19 when a staff of the Government Pleader’s office tested positive for COVID-19 and he was found to have attended the court proceedings on a couple of days.

The entry to the High Court premises is prohibited till June 30. The three judges are currently undergoing treatment at private hospitals in Chennai.

The Madras High Court was closed during the lockdown period with judges hearing cases through video conferencing from their residence. The High Court resumed hearings with the 33 benches only on June 1 with the judges hearing the cases through video conferencing in the courtroom chambers.

Two division benches and four single judges will take up urgent matters and the hearing would be conducted from the residential chambers of the judges and not from the high court premises from Monday, the committee resolved, the court sources added.

The restriction will also apply to subordinate courts across the state, since nine district courts were allowed to conduct limited open court hearing presently.