According to the sources, three magistrates and several police personnel, have been sent into quarantine in two districts of Kerala, after three remand prisoners tested positive for COVID-19.
Subsequently, the Kerala High Court observed that on several instances, the accused person who was physically produced in the court, later turned out to be COVID positive. Thus, the court instructed that the production of an accused before the Magistrates and Special Judges in the state will be done only through electronic means, to prevent further spread of the virulent infection in the court premises.
“In view of the spread of the pandemic, the Magistrates and the court staff are becoming more and more vulnerable to the disease,” an official statement issued in this behalf read.
A few days ago, a car in which the illicit liquor was being transported, had hit a policeman and sped away, but some local people managed to stop the vehicle and the three accused, who were in an inebriated state, were arrested, police sources said.
According to officials, in Thiruvananthapuram, an accused, who was arrested along with two others in connection with a case relating to the illicit transportation of liquor two days ago tested positive following which a magistrate and over 34 police personnel were asked to go into quarantine.
The Nedumangad court magistrate, before whom the man was produced, 34 police personnel, including a circle inspector, who were on duty at the Venjaramoodu police station when he was brought after his arrest, some employees of a government hospital where his swab sample was taken and 12 officials of the Poojapura central jail have gone on quarantine, stated the police officials.
Various incidents have been reported from several parts of the State wherein the accused produced before the Magistrates later turned out to be positive of coronavirus. Thus, in these circumstances, the High Court has now directed the State Police Chief to ensure that an accused is produced before the Magistrates through electronic video linkage facility, even where the production is for the first time.
“It is directed that the Magistrates and Special Judges, before whom accused are produced after arrest either under a warrant or not, may allow the production of the accused through electronic linkage or appropriate Electronic medium using Desktop/Laptop/Mobile or any such electronic linkage as maybe available. The District Judges and Chief Judicial Magistrates shall communicate the directions to all the Magistrates and Special Judges accordingly and give necessary guidance and assistance to them in the matter,” read the official Memo.