Thinley Namgay

After the first Covid-19 positive case surfaced in the country on March 5, judiciary has taken preventive measures not calling litigants from dzongkhag and dungkhag courts to Thimphu and those in Thimphu to the dzongkhag and dungkhag courts.

Supreme Court’s registrar general, Tshering Dorji, said that  case registrations have also reduced by almost 75 percent.

He said that while hearings are conducted based on each case, they try to restrict calling litigants from different dzongkhags.

Supreme Court also formed a Covid-19 task force team to discuss about how to prepare for the outbreak.

In the High Court, most hearings were suspended until March 24 and hearings are conducted for important cases based on priority.

An official explained that the High Court normally receives 15 cases every day but it has now reduced to less than six cases a day.

“We don’t encourage people from the other dzongkhags to come to Thimphu,” the official said.

In dzongkhag courts, hearings are conducted for only criminal cases and hearings for civil cases are deferred.

Judges were also restricted from inter-dzongkhag tours and all judiciary trainings, meetings and conferences were cancelled.

Meanwhile, registrar general Tshering Dorji said they have plans to conduct online video conference for litigants so that they need not come all the way to Thimphu for hearings.

He said it was in plan for the last two years but they could not set it up at one go throughout the country because of financial constraints. “It will depend upon the internet connectivity in different courts.”

As a pilot phase, video conferencing system will be set up in eastern dzongkhags such as Trashigang and Mongar. In the central part, it will be started either in Bumthang, Zhemgang or Sarpang.