Court expresses concern over risks faced by district court judicial officers
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said politicians and bureaucrats find it very difficult to accept their failure and inability as it is not in their veins, while expressing concerns over the condition of District Court’s judicial officers who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 owing to the nature of duties.
A Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said that three judicial officers have already died after contracting the virus in the Capital. The Bench asked the government whether the judicial officers in the subordinate courts could be treated akin to front-line workers.
“In Supreme Court and High Court, we hold constitutional positions. Our protocols are different but that is not the case of subordinate judiciary…You should take steps for good reason. We don’t have to thrust… If administration is satisfied that judicial officers are discharging front-line duties, you can record in your order and provide facilities,” the High Court told the city government.
The court was hearing a plea filed by the Delhi Judicial Officers Association with respect to the health facilities in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Facilities an eyewash
Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, representing the association, said that the facilities on ground for judicial officers are an eyewash. The association asked for creation of a district-wise attachment of hospitals for judicial officers and appointment of a centralised nodal officer to assist the judicial officer when help is sought.
The association said that 852 judicial officers and staff have already been infected with the virus.
During the hearing, Delhi government standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi submitted the facilities for judicial officers have been put in place as per the court’s direction.
To this, the Bench reacted, “That has not delivered. They are here because it didn’t bring about any satisfactory results. It is very difficult for bureaucracy and political leaders to accept their failure or inability”.
The High Court has ordered the Delhi government to come up with a status report on the issue by May 26, the next date of hearing.
The court also noted the submissions of senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing Delhi government, that the government will decide on declaring judicial officers as “front-line workers”.
Mr. Mehra also said that the association may also submit their representation to the Delhi Chief Secretary who shall consider it and also convene a virtual meeting with the members of the association.
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