The Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up the Delhi government for not taking steps to control the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi. The court also directed the Delhi government to file a status report on or before November 18 explaining the steps taken by it in the last two weeks to control the COVID-19 situation in the national capital.
The division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad said the government cannot remain oblivious of the situation and that “alarm bells should have rung within the Delhi government” to deal with the situation hands on in the wake of the mounting cases.
The bench said that when Delhi was “hands down beating” Maharashtra and Kerala in the number of daily new cases in the past two weeks, what concrete steps have been taken by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to contain the spread of infection.
Questioning the Delhi government, the court asked whether there was any strategy at all in place to control the infections. “The daily rates are mind-boggling. What has the Delhi government done? Particularly when you’ve taken decisions to unlock in every which manner. We’re concerned not just as a court but as citizens. Numbers have shot up through the ceiling,” observed the court.
Observing that almost “no household has remained untouched by the COVID-19”, the court said it would have expected that immediate corrective steps would have been taken to contain the situation but instead Delhi government has been relaxing the norms of movement of public even in this situation. The court noted that the number of guests permitted for a marriage ceremony has been increased to 200 from 100 and said the government has also relaxed the seating restrictions in public transport by permitting it to be fully occupied.
“The swarming streets of Delhi show an alarming situation where all caution has been thrown to the wind during this festive season and the public is out in uncontrollable numbers which itself would become a cause for further infections,” said the court.
Observing that it is one thing for the government to claim that masks should be treated as a vaccine “temporarily” in absence of an actual vaccine and another thing to say how the Delhi government proposes to implement such a statement, the Court said that the situation has well surpassed advisories.
“If the Delhi government is serious about implementing its policy or strategy for containing the infection, this court would have thought that by now there would have been some sanctions through appropriate legislation for enforcing the wearing of masks in public spaces,” the division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad said.
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