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Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Can’t seek removal of health workers due to unrealistic Covid fear: Delhi HC

The petitioner, a senior citizen, was anxious about his health and well being as measures relating to hygiene were allegedly not being adhered to by frontline workers in the neighbourhood.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi | Updated: May 22, 2020 1:25:42 pm
Can't seek removal of health workers due to unrealistic Covid fear: Delhi HC Medics attend to patients at a government hospital in New Delhi on Thursday, May 21, 2020. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

Observing that “no one has a right to ask for the removal of resident health workers from their neighbourhood because of an unrealistic fear of the Covid-19”, the Delhi High Court Friday 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 health workers.”

A single bench of Justice Asha Menon passed the order on a PIL seeking direction to the Delhi government to ensure no guesthouse was run illegally nor was any portion of the said property rented to a person who could be a threat to the life and safety of the residents.

The petitioner had submitted that he is a senior citizen, and along with other senior citizens with co-morbidities, was anxious about his health and well being as measures relating to hygiene were allegedly not being adhered to by the occupants of a property in the city. The property was being used as a guest house 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 years 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 the citizens.”

Therefore, the court directed the Delhi government as well as the DM to take action similar to measures adopted for containment/buffer zones and adopt the practice/protocol in other zone/areas where health workers are residing. This would, the court said, assuage fears of other residents in the same locality.

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