Sitting along with Justice S Ananthi at the Madurai bench, Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee said, “The petitioner must be reminded about the entirety of the restrictions clamped by the State following the lockdown imposed in the wake of the second surge of the pandemic, has not been lifted. There is no conclusive scientific opinion as on date as to when a third or subsequent surge may arrive and the number of positive cases has been going up in a neighbour State at an alarming level over the last few days,” the bench said.
Pointing out that the court has continuously warned that one must err on the side of caution in public interest and to safeguard the health of all concerned in such a situation, the bench said, “As it is, there is the experience of the havoc that was wreaked by the second surge of pandemic since the country was caught unaware.
“Experts advice that the only protection is for vaccination to be completed so that even if the virus attacks an individual, the chance of fatality would stand reduced,” the bench led by the Chief Justice stressed while clarifying that the courts were substantially open in the State, including the High Court.
“Some form of physical hearing is possible upon permission being obtained. As far as virtual hearing is concerned, the performance at Madurai appears to be much better than at the principal bench,” the bench held.
“While it is appreciated that not all persons, particularly parties intending to appear in person, may have access to smartphones, laptops or other gadgets to participate in the virtual hearing, matters are being taken up and disposed of regularly without dismissal for default or ex-party orders being made,” the court said.
“Uniformed petitions of the present kind are eminently avoidable if only to allow the court to concentrate on matters which require attention and not waste time on frivolous and the fanciful,” the bench said in its order while directing the petitioner to exercise extreme restraint before invoking this extraordinary jurisdiction in future.