The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone including Judges and Registry officials in the Supreme Court, and the Indian judiciary has seen more than 100 high court judges and over 2,700 officers testing positive for the virus, Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana said on Thursday. Three high court judges and 34 judicial officers have lost their lives due to the virus, he said. Till date around 800 Registry staff has tested positive for coronavirus in the apex court and six Registrars and 10 Additional Registrars have been infected at different times, the CJI said.
“This pandemic has affected everyone. With great pain and agony, I must state certain facts. The first employee of the Supreme Court Registry was reported COVID positive on April 27, 2020, he said. “Till date, approximately 800 Registry staff have tested positive. Six of our Registrars and 10 Additional Registrars have tested positive at different times. Unfortunately, we lost three of our officials to COVID,” CJI Ramana said.
So far as the Indian judiciary is concerned, as per the data available, 2,768 judicial officers and 106 Judges of the High Court have tested positive. We are yet to receive the data from two major High Courts. 34 Judicial Officers and three Hon’ble Judges of the High Court have lost their life, battling this pandemic, he said. When COVID-19 struck, the systems which were earlier in place could no longer be relied upon and judicial system had to adapt quickly, in order to ensure that justice dispensation does not stop in the country, he said.
The CJI further said: Everyone has been deeply affected by this pandemic, including my brother and sister Judges in the Supreme Court. The Secretary General, the Registrars, most of the staff of the Supreme Court and their families have suffered. “Apart from the physical impact of this pandemic, the psychological and mental strain has been terrible. Despite this demoralizing and fear inducing environment, everyone is rendering service to their best capacity, to ensure that justice continues to be rendered.
CJI Ramana was speaking at the launch of application for granting access of virtual proceedings of the Supreme Court to media persons. He said the technical team deployed for the development of the mobile application faced many challenges and the team concerned worked from home, and came out with this feature within 7 days.
Their commitment to their duty deserves special appreciation. It is through all their efforts that today we are able to release this application, which is a platform for media persons to allow them to view proceedings live on the mobile phones, he said. Supreme Court Judge Justice D Y Chandrachud, who is heading the bench in the suo motu case on the pandemic management, also participated in the app launch event. He had on Wednesday tested COVID positive.
Before the start of the event, Justice Chandrachud, on being asked about his health, said that despite having taken so much precaution he got infected.