Delhi HC finds weight in claim of Bar Council

17

New Delhi, March 4 : The Delhi High Court on Wednesday observed that there is weight in the claim made by the Bar Council of Delhi for declaring all persons associated with the judicial functioning, which includes the Judges, the Court Staff and the lawyers as frontline workers.

A Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli initiated on its own a public interest litigation on the basis of a communication received from the Bar Council of Delhi.

The bench issued notice to the Health Ministry, Delhi Government, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech. The matter is now listed for March 4 for further hearing.

The court, however, said that it would be necessary to ascertain the availability of the two vaccines in use in India, namely COVISHIELD and COVAXIN manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, respectively.

“…it appears to us that there is weight in the claim made by the Bar Council of Delhi for declaring all persons associated with the judicial functioning, which includes the Judges, the Court Staff and the lawyers as frontline workers, so that they could receive vaccination on priority, and without limitations of their age or physical condition,” the court said.

It observed that the co-morbidities enlisted by the Government to accommodate persons falling in the age group of 45 to 60 years, taken note of hereinabove, are serious conditions from which the Judges, the Court staff and Advocates may, or may not, be suffering.

“There is a clear pattern emerging that the number of COVID-19 positive cases increases with greater intermingling. With increased footfall, there is likelihood of the rate of infection amongst those who attend the Courts spiking, once the full-fledged physical functioning of Courts in Delhi resumes.”

The Delhi High Court will commence physical hearing of the matters on the daily basis from March 15, exactly one year after hearing the cases virtually in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

The court may, in exceptional cases, permit any of the parties and or their Counsel to join the proceedings through video conferencing, subject to availability of requisite infrastructure.

The court had stopped hearing the matter physically in March 23, 2020.