The judicial activities of both the Appellate and the High Court divisions of the Supreme Court will run virtually again from today (Wednesday) amid the sharp rise of Covid-19 cases.
The Supreme Court authorities on Tuesday decided to hear all the cases in the virtual process only from Wednesday.
Two separate notifications have been issued in this regard by the Supreme Court Registrar General Md Ali Akbar.
According to the notifications, all the benches of Appellate Division and High Court Division will conduct judicial activities only through the virtual process since January 19.
Earlier on the day, Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique said that the court functions might be conducted through a virtual system again due to the ongoing spike of Covid-19 infection.
Several judges and staff members of the Supreme Court and lower courts have been infected with Covid-19 and for this reason, the court functions might be run virtually, he said.
The chief justice said this while presiding over a full bench of the Appellate Division of the SC for hearing and disposing of cases in the morning.
Deputy Attorney General Bishwajit Debnath told the apex court that some law officers including Attorney General AM Amin Uddin have been diagnosed with Covid-19.
Barrister Ruhul Quddus Kazal, Secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), said that none of the jurisdictions that the courts exercise in physical presence should be curtailed during the virtual process. Earlier, the anticipatory bail hearing was suspended at one stage in the virtual courts. “We want virtual courts with all jurisdictions including anticipatory bail hearing. We will cooperate with the Chief Justice’s decision,” he added.
After more than one and a half years, the judicial proceedings of both the divisions of the Supreme Court started in a physical presence strictly following health safety rules since December 1 last year. But after only a month and a half, it has been made virtual again.
All the courts in the country were declared closed for the first time in March in 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak. After that, the activities of the judiciary were completely stopped for about two months.
In the face of the demand of the justice-seeking people and the lawyers finally a law was enacted to launch the judicial activities through the virtual process. After enacting the law, the first virtual court was introduced in the Supreme Court on May 10 in 2020.