Thursday, May 28, 2020 16:00 [IST]
Last Update: Thursday, May 28, 2020 10:31 [IST]
The COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) disease which is said to have its origination in the Wuhan City of China has affected the entire world of its deadly outcome of not only making a person extremely ill but also taking lives.
To contain and to slow the spread of the deadly virus, the leaders and Governments were compelled to shut down their countries, leading the entire world to a lockdown. Everyone felt the blunt of lockdown, including the Judiciary in India and of course Sikkim had its share. In the midst of everything being shutdown, the Judiciary did function in Sikkim. Amid fears of the spread of the Corona Virus among the Court Staffs litigants and to give a sense of security to Advocates practising in various Courts of Sikkim, the High Court of Sikkim in its prompt decision as early as 18th of March, 2020 gave certain directionsto the District Judges of all the districtsto avoid over-crowding of the Courts and this direction was given before the lockdown was declared in the entire country.The High Court went one step ahead and passed a direction to allow urgent and unavoidable cases to be heard via video conferencing.The Advocates were given the liberty to file urgent cases from the convenience of their homes via video conferencing. Yes, at first it was very challenging, difficult and confusing but technology has its way and some cases were dealt via video conferencing.
Now, that the lockdown has been for more than 60 days, rendering many unemployed, most of the offices, businesses and movement of people has slowly starting to reopen, the Judiciary is trying to reopen as well. The High Court of Sikkim has given certain directives to the Courts at the district level to reopen with 30 % staff. The Bar Association of Sikkim has done a commendable job by providing financial assistance to the needy Advocates and also trying to give its full assistance to Advocates at the time of filing cases during the lockdown. As we all know that, 90 % of Advocates in Sikkim are self-employed and I am sure many have not earned a single penny in the entire period of lockdown. It has been a difficult time for many of us but one can expect a different way of conducting cases after the Courts reopen. So let’s be prepared!