After three judges of the Madras High Court tested positive for coronavirus, the court has decided to hear select cases through video-conferencing. Only two Division Benches and three single judges would hear cases through video conferencing from their residences from Monday so as to limit court staff deployed for official work.
This order is also applicable to subordinate courts as the Madras High Court permitted open court hearings in the nine district courts from June 1.
The entry to the High Court premises is prohibited till June 30.
The three judges are currently undergoing treatment at private hospitals in Chennai.
The Madras High Court was closed during the lockdown period with judges hearing cases through video conferencing from their residence. The High Court resumed hearings with the 33 benches only on June 1 with the judges hearing the cases through video conferencing in the courtroom chambers.
Secretariat staff demand for 33% functioning from office
Meanwhile, as cases continue to rise at the secretariat, the staff has demanded the Tamil Nadu government to permit 33% of the workforce to function from office while the rest work from home.
In a letter accessed by TNM, the Tamil Nadu Secretariat Association said that 50% of the secretariat staff are functioning from the office. In the various departments functioning in the secretariat building, 25 employees and officials have tested positive for coronavirus. The workers who came in contact with the coronavirus positive patients are prone to spreading the infection to their family members, colleagues and people travelling in the buses.
In this scenario, the government, in order to stop the community spread of infection, should reduce 50% people functioning in the office to 33% employees as demanded by the association, the letter said. The Association also placed eight demands for the government in the letter including infrastructural changes to be made at the secretariat building for allowing adequate natural air to enter the building since air conditioning cannot be used amid the pandemic. The Association also urged the government to consider the leaves taken by COVID-19 patients as Special Casual Leave, among other demands.