Supreme Court will switch to virtual hearings – starting tomorrow – for two weeks as India sees a surge in coronavirus cases, believed to be driven by the Omicron variant. Most states in the country have reported cases of the new variant, said to be highly infectious.
The top court, which opens tomorrow after its winter vacation, had switched to physical hearings after more than a year in October as India saw a drop in Covid cases.
“It is hereby notified for the information of the members of the bar, party-in-person and all concerned that keeping in view the rising number of cases of Omicron variant (COVID-19), the competent authority has been pleased to direct that modified Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) notified on October 7, 2021, for physical hearing (hybrid mode) will remain suspended for the present, and all hearings before the courts for a period of two weeks from and with effect from January 3, shall be through virtual mode only,” a circular issued by the court read.
More than 1,500 people in the country have contracted the new variant, the government said this morning.
Most big cities are witnessing a surge in cases, including Delhi and Mumbai where fresh curbs have been brought in place.
Bengal today also announced a list of new restrictions, including shutting down schools. Offices have been asked to prefer work-from-home.
The Supreme Court had been hearing cases virtually since March 2020 after Covid had hit India. It switched to the hybrid mode on October 7.