After responding to clarifications with respect to the Registry’s letter of May 17 on the opening of the lawyers’ chambers; the Supreme Court has now issued guidelines for the entrants, considering the increasing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the lockdown, for almost two months the physical entry inside the Supreme Court premises was prohibited However, now lawyers are allowed to access their chambers to collect important files and other belongings.
The Guidelines For Entry In Lawyers’ Chamber Block
- A time frame is specified to allow entry in the chambers for accessing files and other belongings, the circular states. The Lawyers Chamber Blocks would follow the timings 10 AM to 4 PM (Monday to Friday, except holidays); and 10 AM to 2 PM (Saturday, except holidays); after that, the sanitization of the Blocks will take place. Additionally, the Blocks will remain closed for deep cleaning and sanitization on Sundays and holidays.
- The entry is allowed only to members of the Bar and their staff; on production of Proximity Card or Letter of Authority; who would have to go through thermal-screening and duly fill up self-declaration Forms/Daily Registers to facilitate contact tracing; arranged by the authorities, and they shall refuse entry into any Block on non-compliance of this condition. Further the authorities shall forward copies of the self-declaration forms/ Daily Registers of each Block; to the Registry at the earliest; but not later than the end of office hours on the following working day.
- Those entrants who are found symptomatic masks during the thermal screening; and also those not wearing masks shall be denied entry into the Blocks.
Formulation Of Odd-Even Plan For Opening Of Chambers
- To avoid over-crowding inside the Lawyers Chamber Blocks, and so that there is maintenance of social-distancing norms; the authorities can jointly prepare and circulate plan detailing the ‘Odd-Even’ Chamber Numbers of every Block; which would alternately open on Weekdays (Monday to Saturday); indicating the maximum number of persons who may access any Chamber at any point of time.
- The use of stairs while coming downstairs is mandatory.
- There will be a single-entry point to every Block fitted with hand-sanitizer machine; which the Registry would provide, and the staff of these authorities will operate them;
- The authorities may inform the Members and their staff; that operation of air-conditioning machines in Chambers may raise health-concerns in the prevalent pandemic-situation.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court also permitted lawyers to visit their chambers in three Lawyers’ Chambers Blocks; subject to certain conditions, last week.