By: Express News Service | Rajkot |

Published: April 19, 2020 10:25:21 pm


coronavirus news, mandatory covid-19 test, rajkot court, gujarat coronavirus news, indian express Samir Khira, additional public prosecutor in Rajkot, said the number of litigants visiting courts has been reduced to a trickle. (Express photo: Prashant Nadkar)

THE PRINCIPAL district judge of Rajkot has issued a circular making it compulsory for police to get an arrested accused screened for COVID-19, before they are produced before a judge. An accused can be produced before a judge only if he or she tests negative for the viral infection, the circular mandates.

Referring to an order passed by the Gujarat High Court (HC) on March 27, after hearing a suo moto public interest litigation (PIL) with regard to the outbreak of coronavirus in the state, Principal District Judge Utkarsh Desai issued a circular on Saturday, requesting the commissioner of Rajkot city police and the superintendent of Rajkot rural police to get the accused they arrest tested for COVID-19, before producing him or her before a judge.

“…As and when any accused is/are arrested and produced before the concerned Judicial Officer/ Court, they shall invariably confirm that the said accused is/are not infected with Corona Virus (COVID-19) by specifically getting the COVID-19 test conducted by Medical Authorities. It is only after such confirmation, which of course has to be in the ‘Negative,’ the accused shall be produced before the concerned Judicial Officer/Court, along with such medical report of COVID-19 test that has been conducted/carried out (sic),” reads the circular.

Incidentally, the Gujarat HC in its order had directed those concerned to take precautionary measures to prevent the viral infection among officials working and visiting courts. The HC had also directed that courts will only hear urgent matters.

Samir Khira, additional public prosecutor in Rajkot, said the number of litigants visiting courts has been reduced to a trickle. “Courts are mostly hearing bail applications of undertrials and some convicts. These hearings are mostly held through video conferencing. Therefore, a few accused are physically produced in courts. Also, not many are getting arrested by police for serious offences, which requires an accused to be produced before a court,” Khira said.

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