A bout of swine flu has hit work in the Supreme Court, with at least five of its judges being diagnosed with the H1N1 virus.
On Tuesday, Justice D Y Chandrachud told lawyers in his court that judges had met Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde to discuss preventive steps. The CJI subsequently issued directions which were communicated to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Secretary Preeti Sudan.
Officials said the CJI has asked the government “to augment” the CGHS dispensary already operating in the court and also to open a temporary dispensary, if required, to make available medicines and vaccines to litigants and lawyers.
Meanwhile, two judges have been isolated in their respective homes after they were found to have contracted swine flu. Three others who had the same infection and were in isolation, have recently joined back on duty, government sources said. Prophylactic treatment has been given to all those who came in contact with them, including family members. Court rooms and residences are also being sanitised.
Supreme Court sources said that a majority of judges who were diagnosed with the virus had fallen ill last week. A senior official tried to allay fears and said “the cases were identified at the initial stage itself and there is no reason for worry”.
On February 17, a nine-judge bench of the top court had begun hearing arguments on larger questions of law referred to it by a bench which had heard petitions challenging the court’s September 2018 verdict in the Sabarimala case.
However, the bench rose abruptly around 12 pm saying it will reassemble in ten minutes. Later, it was informed that the hearing had been adjourned till the next day. However the bench has not sat after that day.
It is reliably learnt that atleast two judges on this bench had turned in sick.
As on February 16, 884 swine flu cases were reported in the country, while 14 people have died of the disease.
Court sources say this is the second time that swine flu has raised its head in the court in recent years. About four years back, a judge (since retired) had contracted it and the judge who shared the bench with him too fell sick, they said. —With inputs from ENS, Delhi
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