The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday refused to accede to a plea by a sitting Congress corporator of Rajkot seeking public disclosure of names of all Covid-19 positive patients.
The public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Atul Rajani of Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) was similar to an earlier litigation filed in August by two Bhavnagar residents on the ground that while names of Covid-19 positive persons were revealed until July 2020 in the Bhavnagar district, it was subsequently stopped.
A division bench of Justices R M Chhaya and Ilesh Vora in an order on Wednesday recommended that Rajani might furnish a request to this effect to the municipal commissioner of Rajkot city but reiterated that such decisions are a “matter of policy decision of the state government and therefore, no further direction to that effect need to be given by this court”.
In the earlier PIL by Bhavnagar residents, the state government had submitted that it had changed its policy of publicly disclosing names of Covid-19 positive persons after it was realised that “in remote areas, due to illiteracy, people started attaching social stigma”, which further led to social ostracisation in some cases.
In an order dated August 20 in the case of the Bhavnagar residents, the court had suggested that once the authority comes to know that a particular person residing in a particular locality has tested positive, “the authority should alert the residents of that locality so that the other persons may not come in contact of that person who has tested positive…” With respect to Rajkot corporator’s PIL, the court once again reiterated that the suggestion for Bhavnagar be also implemented for Rajkot.