The Delhi High Court Friday sought the response of the Centre and the Delhi government on an application seeking directions to ensure that no centrally air-conditioned facilities in the national capital, including the one in High Court and the District Courts, is put to use without adequate measures and precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Observing that it is a very “vital issue”, a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the authorities concerned and asked them to file their response in the matter, especially keeping in mind the guidelines issued by CPWD on April 22.
Central Government Standing Counsel Ajay Digpaul, appearing for the Centre and the Central Public Works Department’s (CPWD) agreed to place the guidelines for “Air Conditioning and Ventilation” on the next date of hearing on May 1.
The Delhi High Court’s Registrar General will also look into the issue and file his response. The bench, meanwhile, advised maintenance checks and cleaning of the centrally air-conditioned facilities. The court was hearing an application filed by advocate K C Mittal, in a pending air pollution issue before it.
Mittal’s application, which was argued by senior advocate Meet Malhotra, contended that although centrally air-conditioned buildings are seen as a sign of modern luxury, it has the tendency to inadvertently act as massive catalysts to further the spread of air/aerosol borne virus or other infections.
Highlighting that the air-conditioning systems have no circulation of fresh air or exposure to sun, the plea said, “their usage will add to the unprecedented crisis of COVID-19 pandemic”.
The application said that pursuant to the petition concerning air pollution level in the city, measures to install ultraviolet filters, ionizers and electrostatic filters were taken up by the Delhi High Court on the administrative side.
“However, it is not known whether the requisite equipment, infact, were installed and whether, if installed, such measures are sufficient to deal with the present viral epidemic,” the application added.
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