So, on Friday, for the first time in the history of the Supreme Court of India, the hearing of almost all the listed cases was conducted via WhatsApp video calls. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
At a time when the entire country is finding innovative ways to stay connected during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, the Supreme Court of India on Friday also joined what almost all Indians are doing these days - WhatsApp Video Calls! On Friday after numerous attempts failed to connect the judges and lawyers, the top court officials came up with a simple but working solution. Why not conduct the hearing via WhatsApp. So, on Friday, for the first time in the history of the Supreme Court of India, the hearing of almost all the listed cases was conducted via WhatsApp video calls. News Nation has learned that the decision was taken after the link provided through 'Vidyo' app failed again and again. Then the top court resorted to the popular messaging app. (Coronavirus Outbreak Live Updates)
Since March 25, the Supreme Court has been hearing on the urgent matter via video conference. On March 22, in a circular issued, the top court had canceled the scheduled hearing in courts 2, 8 and 14 and said that from March 25 only one bench of two judges will take up for hearing in only urgent matters through video conference. On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has imposed a 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. As per the cause list uploaded by the apex court on its website, a bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justice D Y Chandrachud will be taking up three matters through video conference in which the advocates have been requested to address the court from a different room, while the judges will be sitting in court one. Before that, the CJI had said that video conferencing facility will be set up to hear the matters within a week and smart TVs will be installed for the media to cover the cases to dissuade them from entering the courtrooms.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Friday dismissed a plea seeking direction for using resorts and hotels for migrant workers walking back to their native places after being rendered jobless following 21-day lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic as shelter homes where they are kept allegedly lack adequate sanitation facilities. A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta, which heard the matter through video-conferencing, observed that the court cannot force the government to listen to all the ideas as people may come up with millions of ideas. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, raised objections on the application and said that state governments have already taken over buildings like schools and others to use them as shelter for migrants.
The Union health ministry on Friday said there are 2,301 cases so far, and 56 people have died till date. As many as 336 cases have been reported in last 24 hours. Several states are still identifying and tracing people linked to a religious event held at the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi last month. Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation through a video message where he urged the countrymen to switch off all the lights of their house on 5th April at 9 PM for 9 minutes, and just light a candle, 'diya', or mobile's flashlight, to mark the fight against coronavirus pandemic.
(With agency inputs)