Observing that “no one has a right to ask for removal of resident health workers from their neighbourhood because of an unrealistic fear of Covid-19”, the Delhi High Court noted that the Delhi government “cannot escape their obligation to provide a protected environment to senior citizens and other residents adjacent to such buildings which are occupied by the health workers”.
The single bench of Justice Asha Menon passed the order on a PIL seeking directions to the Delhi government to ensure that no guesthouse is run illegally and no portion of the said property is rented out to any person who can be a threat to the life and safety of residents.
The petitioner had submitted that he is a senior citizen and that occupants of a property on Cariappa Marg are not following measures for proper hygiene. The property was used as a guesthouse for frontline workers.
Rishikesh Kumar, who appeared for the District Magistrate (South), argued that “health workers are the frontline warriors of the Covid-19 pandemic and cannot be asked to move away from the property in question”.
On the other hand, Neha Jain, the counsel for the petitioner, argued that since the “petitioner is a senior citizen living with five other senior citizens, with what is described as ‘co-morbidities’, they are anxious about their health and well-being as measures relating to hygiene are not being adhered to by the occupants of property”.
After taking these submissions into consideration, the court noted: “Senior citizens above the age of 65 have their movement restricted as they are not even allowed to leave their homes, and their concerns cannot be wished away by the government authorities, who are obligated to take care of all citizens.”
The court directed the Delhi government as well as DM (South) to take all action such as fumigation and sanitisation, similar to measures being adopted for containment/buffer zones, in the area in question. The court said such measures may also be adopted in other zones/areas where health workers are residing, which would also assuage fears of other residents.
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