HC asks district judges to coordinate with DMs on medical concerns of judicial officers, families

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New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Thursday asked Delhi district judges to coordinate with district magistrates (DMs) to address the medical concerns of judicial officers and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The issue was raised in a petition by a group of lawyers seeking a coordination mechanism for judicial officers as they were unable to get COVID-19 medical treatment and beds in hospitals.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said district judges in consultation with DMs may identify suitable places for converting them into COVID care centres.

“Let the District and Sessions Judge of each district here coordinate with all the District Magistrates to address the medical concerns of judicial officers and their families. The order be communicated to all the District Judges and District Magistrates for compliance,” the bench said and listed the matter for further hearing on May 6 for reporting compliance of the order.

Senior advocate Sanjoy Ghose, representing petitioner-advocates Shobha Gupta and Rajesh Sachdeva, informed the bench that two judicial officers -- Kovai Venugopal and Kamran Khan -- have succumbed to the virus and over 60 judges are infected with COVID-19.

“We don't want our judges to become martyrs to COVID-19,” he said and suggested converting dispensaries in residential complexes of judicial officers and even court complexes as COVID-19 care centre for judicial officers and their families.

Delhi government standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi submitted that the government is willing to provide assistance to deal with the situation and added that if provided with suitable places, they can convert them in COVID-19 care centres.

“The petitioners are specifically concerned about the health and life of the judicial officers in Delhi. The judicial officers in Delhi in order to maintain law and order and ensure speedy and effective delivery of justice resumed physical hearings in courts. It is pertinent to mentioned that due to nature of work in courts, COVID protocol is not being followed in courts and judicial officers are exposed immensely,” the plea said.

It added that in light of India's experiencing a second wave of coronavirus, nuanced steps need to be taken to provide appropriate healthcare facilities to the judicial officers who are at the forefront of the maintenance of law and order situation in the country. PTI SKV HMP SA