Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has decided to act on its earlier circular and function High Courts and Magistrate Courts around the country on April 2 and 3 only to entertain bail applications.
A spokesman from the JSC said that in a circular dated March 30 it had decided to hold courts sittings to entertain only bail applications for minor offences.
“The decision was taken specially to ease the congestion in remand prisons which is in a serious threat of spreading Covid 19 epidemic,” he told Daily Mirror.
The JSC also has directed the judges to adhere to government's guidelines on social distancing when conducting courts and parties related to the cases are not allowed to attend courts but only allowed to make representation through their lawyers.
"Instead of coming to courts counsels also can represent cases via social media platforms like skype, whatsapp or other electronic means,” the spokesman further said.
“This is not an ordinary court hearing but we are going to hear only bail applications as April 2 and 3 would be the only two days before three weeks long court vacation,” he added.
The JSC has taken this decision despite Attorney General Dappula de Livera’s request to the Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasooriya to cancel court sittings on April 2 and 3 to follow the government’s guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid 19.
Asked about the AG’s request, the JSC sources stated that the courts would be function within the legal framework and in the circular itself specific instructions are given to follow the government guidelines to prevent the spread of Corona.
In addition he also said that a minimum staff of two or three court staff would be used for the courts sittings.(Susitha R Fernando)