The Supreme Court on Monday said it was mulling over shutting down its functioning and considering to hear urgent matters through virtual means. The top court said that by Tuesday evening, all lawyers' chambers in and around the apex court premises would be sealed.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said the apex court administration would temporarily cancel all proximity cards to dissuade lawyers from coming to the court.
The bench, also comprising justices L N Rao and Surya Kant, said only Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Dushyant Dave could authorise lawyers to enter the top court premises for urgent reasons. It said there would be no gathering of lawyers on the court premises till further orders.
The chief justice said he would take a call on Monday itself on a possible shut down or to advance the summer vacations, as demanded by the lawyers' organisations.
The issue of shutting down the apex court's functioning was raised by the SCBA president and the members of the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The executive committee of the Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association (SCAORA) has passed a resolution that its members will not be appearing in the court till April 4 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns in cities.
The association, in the resolution issued on Sunday, also urged the Chief Justice of India to completely shut the court operations.
"Considering the outbreak of the pandemic coronavirus and in view of the Delhi government notification dated March 22, 2020, vide which there has been a total lockdown in Delhi till March 31, 2020, and with a view to safeguard and protect the court, the members of the bar office staff and also the registry staff it is a resolved that the members of SCAORA will not be appearing in the court till April 4, 2020," the resolution said.
It said that the borders and public transport have been shut down and added that members commuting from Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Noida will not be able to reach the court.
"In the view of the aforesaid circumstances and in furtherance to our previous resolution dated March 21, 2020, an earnest appeal is further made to the CJI on behalf of SCAORA to completely closed down the premises of the Supreme Court in the best interest of the health of the bar and bench," it added.
The Supreme Court Bar Association had, on Saturday, also passed a resolution asking the Chief Justice of India to consider declaring vacation for four weeks amid coronavirus fears.