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Coronavirus scare: SC suspends guided tours for public, closes museum

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New Delhi, Mar 15 :  The Supreme Court on Sunday decided to suspended the largely popular guided tours of the apex court complex and closed its museum for visitors till further orders in view of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In a fresh circular, the top court issued several precautionary measures based on the Centre’s advisory cautioning against mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

The apex court said non-essential visits to the Supreme Court premises are discouraged and entry of casual visitors shall remain restricted until further orders.

The circular directed all stakeholders including lawyers, court staff and vendors to vacate the apex court premises preferably by 5.30 PM every day to facilitate sanitisation of rest rooms, corridors, staircases and other areas by 6 PM.

It advised all entrants to the apex court premises including lawyers, litigants and clerks to not crowd at any spot and to exit the premises as soon as their official business gets over.

The circular said lawyers and litigants from across the country who would like to avoid travel or visits to the Supreme Court may email the Registry apprising them of such information and details of their case(s) with the request that their matter(s) may not be listed until the aforesaid restrictions remain in force.

The guided tours of the top court are held every Saturday, except on declared holidays, in two groups of 40 people each, allowing visitors to view the grand interiors of the Supreme Court building, judges’ library and court rooms.

The guided tours are popular among the common people who during normal court hours do not get to see the court rooms and other parts of the apex court due to restricted entry. These tours are booked for free well in advance through online bookings.