New Delhi: Six judges of the Supreme Court of India are currently fighting swine flu, leading to a number of benches not functioning, or judges working in courtrooms wearing masks.
Hearings in cases like the Sabarimala reference have been affected.
Justice D.Y. Chandrachud made a disclosure to this effect in his courtroom Tuesday. “Six judges of SC are affected with H1N1 flu. There was a meeting with CJI (S.A. Bobde).”
Justices A.S. Bopanna, Hemant Gupta, Indira Banerjee, L. Nageswar Rao, Hrishikesh Roy and Abdul Nazeer were not present in the court Tuesday.
In his comments, Chandrachud suggested that lawyers and president of the Bar should take preventive measures to avoid succumbing to the contagious respiratory disease.
How the outbreak started in top court
The outbreak of swine flu in the Supreme Court began with Justice M.M. Shantanagoudar. After this, Justice A.S. Bopanna got infected, two sources in the top court told ThePrint.
Shantanagoudar was present in the court Tuesday.
Justice Sanjiv Khanna was seen wearing a mask in the court Tuesday while conducting the session where the bench was led by Justice N.V. Ramana.
The early indication of the matter came after two judges on the Sabarimala reference Constitution bench felt unwell. Thereafter, a constitution bench led by Justice Arun Mishra too couldn’t hear the listed cases as Justice Indira Banerjee wasn’t in court Tuesday.
During the proceedings, Justice Arun Mishra also chose to work on the side of caution, asking senior counsel Aryana Sundaram to take rest as he was not feeling well.
While arguing for a case before a Mishra-led bench, Sundaram said that another lawyer will argue the rest as he “had exhausted himself”.
“Are you okay counsel?” Mishra asked, to which the lawyer said he wasn’t feeling well. “Don’t come to court and argue then. We are saying because of something,” said Mishra.
Sundaram agreed, “Yes your lordship, six judges…” Before the lawyer could complete, Justice M.R. Shah intervened and said, “H1N1 flu it is.”
Swine flu in Delhi
At least 152 people have tested positive for swine flu in Delhi as on 16 February, shows data released by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), a central health body. No death has been reported from the capital yet.
Over 880 persons have tested positive for H1N1 over the last month, with 14 deaths, show latest reports. Tamil Nadu reported the maximum cases at 172, followed by Delhi (152), Karnataka (151) and Telangana (148).
Swine flu is caused by type A strain of the influenza virus. It enters the body through inhalation of contaminated droplets, or is transferred from a contaminated surface to the eyes, nose or mouth of a person.