September 3, 2020 11:43:11 pm
THE INCREASING number of Covid-19 cases in the city has affected the functioning of the western zone bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT), which has been suspended for three days after six out of 16 staff members tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
For the past few years due to unavailability of the required number of judges, hearings of cases filed before the western zone bench were being regularly held through videoconferencing facility with judges sitting on the principal bench at New Delhi. The outbreak of Covid-19, however, led NGT administration to allow litigants to argue their cases online from anywhere outside the bench office.
The staff at the western zone office has been coordinating hearings by sending online links to lawyers with timings for getting connected and processing documents digitally so that no one from outside visits the NGT office.
“Six officials have tested positive for the virus. Therefore, to prevent further spread and keep everyone safe, the entire premises of the NGT western zone need to be sanitised. The work of the office will be suspended for three days from September 3 to 5,” said S N Rajurkar, Registrar of NGT western zone, through an office order. Rajurkar has tested positive and is in home isolation since he is asymptomatic. The first patient was detected with Covid-19 on August 29, following which all the staff members were tested. Of them, five, including the registrar, tested positive.
The normal functioning of the office will begin on September 7 and online hearings will resume as per schedule.
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