February 24, 2021 12:29:47 am
THE DELHI High Court Tuesday sought a response from the Delhi government and Centre in a petition seeking the release of four persons, including two children, who have been put in institutional quarantine at a hotel in the capital after travelling from the UK, despite testing negative for Covid-19. Describing it as illegal confinement, the family, in their plea, also sought directions for compensation from the authorities.
The court also issued notice to the Ministries of Civil Aviation and External Affairs. The four petitioners including two children — who are UK citizens and below the age of 10 years — arrived from England on February 20 and were quarantined at Hotel Vivanta, as per the plea.
During the hearing, advocate Ganesh Chand Sharma submitted that the UK passenger guidelines published on the Delhi airport website say the institutional quarantine is not mandatory for all passengers arriving from the UK, but only for passengers who test positive for coronavirus. All four passengers tested negative on February 20 itself, the court was told.
In the petition, it is also alleged that a total of Rs 3,200 was charged from them for the Covid-19 tests at IGI airport and they were also forced to take Plaza Premium Lounge for a total of Rs 10,400.
“The respondents, by charging Rs 2,600 (per head) in lieu of the waiting period of the Covid-19 test conducted at IGI Airport, are commercialising the Covid-19 pandemic and making a mockery of the statement of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India that ‘Apada ko Awasar Banana’ by taking money from the pocket of innocent passengers without giving them any other option to stay till the result of Covid-19 test,” reads the petition
The family, who are permanent residents of England, also sought a direction that the authorities be asked to bear the entire expenditure incurred by them “in the forced exercise played upon” them, right from the stay at the airport lounge to their stay at the hotel.
“The respondent cannot force the petitioners for institutional quarantine at five-star hotel at the cost of the petitioners,” reads the plea further.
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