Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, while stating the steps taken to control the Covid-19 spike, told the Gujarat High Court on Friday that the state government would have done much more but “sentiments of the people came in the way”.
The high court was seeking an update from the government counsels while hearing the suo motu PIL on Covid-19 situation in the state.
The court expressed concern over people, including judges, travelling a long way to attend weddings. Chief Justice Vikram Nath said, “I am shocked. Judges are travelling 500-600 kilometres to attend weddings, of other judges. Not their children’s wedding or their brother’s or sister’s wedding! What to say to the other public when my own judges are travelling…”
Justice JB Pardiwala said, “People are so busy enjoying marriages, they forget everything,” as he questioned how to keep a tab on the 100 wedding attendees given the mood of celebration around marriages. “In an atmosphere of marriage, how do you expect them to maintain social distancing? Of course, you can’t even say nobody can get married for the next one year.”
Trivedi also told the court about the state having banned all “political gatherings” and the increased the number of beds for Covid-19 patients.
Imposition of night curfew was also mentioned as a step taken by the state and Ahmedabad administration. When enquired by the court if there is a plan to impose a weekend curfew similar to that imposed from November 20 , the advocate general submitted that there is no such plan, adding, “We have now taken a call to give sufficient notice…”
Justice Pardiwala added, “You need to bring about deterrence (among people)…that fear of being caught without masks and punished, should creep into the heart and minds of people. Only then you’ll be able to tackle the situation.”
The advocate general quipped, “We would like to do so many things but at the same time, sentiments of the public at large come in the way. We are trying to strike a balance in such a way that purpose is achieved and sentiments are not hurt.”
The PIL is expected to be heard next on December 24.
Following grievances that ICMR guidelines with respect to testing are not being strictly followed in Gujarat, in a litigation moved by advocate KR Koshti, the HC stated that “it does not subscribe to this submission at all.”
“The policy of ICMR appears to be justified and reasonable and the state is strictly following the same…,” it said while dismissing the petition.
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