NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the state government to consider whether judicial officers presiding over lower courts can be declared frontline workers, lamenting that Delhi judiciary has already lost three judicial officers to Covid-19 pandemic.
A Division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said that in its prima facie opinion, judicial officers can be considered frontline workers since they facilitate wheels of justice amid the pandemic.
The court gave an opportunity to the Delhi government to apply its mind to the issue.
“A lot of judges out of necessity have to come to court or visit jails. Judges would say they don’t want preferential treatment, but why not? Not because they are judges but because of the work. That’s the way we look at it. We have already lost three,” the bench said.
The court said if the government is satisfied that judicial officers are discharging frontline duties, they can be provided facilities and benefits extended to such workers.
“You should take steps for good reason. We don’t have to thrust. If the administration is satisfied that judicial officers are discharging frontline duties, you can record in your order and provide facilities,” the court told Delhi government.
Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra also opined that the judicial officers should be declared as frontline workers.
The court, however, clarified that it was only concerned with the judicial officers in the district-level judiciary and not the high court and Supreme Court judges.
The court was hearing a plea moved by the Delhi Judicial Officers Association raising concerns with respect to the health facilities at their disposal.
Plea seeks status of ‘essential worker’ to ration dealers
Ration dealers under the public distribution system should also be considered as frontline workers, a plea has urged the Delhi High Court which on Wednesday sought the Delhi government’s stand on the issue.
The court issued a notice to the Delhi government and sought its response to the plea which has contended that since ration dealers have public dealing on a day-to-day basis, they should be considered as “essential workers”.