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Social distancing norms take a back seat on buses for HC staff

As the Madras High Court commenced regular hearing of all cases through video conferencing on Monday, there were several complaints that social distancing was not being practiced while transporting court staff on special buses.

Social distancing norms take a back seat on buses for HC staff
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Madras High Court

Chennai

Until May 31, the court had taken up only urgent matters through video conferencing, with judges seated at their residences. But now, gradually moving towards physical hearing, 33 judges sat at court halls to deal with the cases allocated to them.

But on the first day, the staff were in for a disappointment with more than 40 to 50 people being taken on the buses flouting social distancing norms.

However, the High Court registry blamed it on the bus crew, stating that they allowed government employees from Secretariat to board the special buses meant for court staff.

A senior official from the registry told this newspaper that after ascertaining the number of staff who require transport, 19 buses were allotted for the High Court staff to ensure that not more than 30 to 35 persons travelled on one vehicle.

But the bus crew failed to adhere to the norms and allowed others to board the bus meant for the High Court staff, he said, adding that the issue has been taken up with the Transport Department Secretary who assured that directions would be issued that other government staff should not board the buses meant for the High Court.

The official also denied the allegation that since it was the first day of court more than 90 per cent of the staff reported for work. He said as per the earlier norms, only 525 out of the 3,000 odd court staff have been pressed into service on shift basis. The numbers have marginally increased after the 50 per cent norm was allowed, he added.

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