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Allahabad HC Issues Further Directions For Wearing Masks In Public Spaces; Resolves Conflict Between Jurisdiction Of Development Authorities & Local Municipal Authorities [Read Order]

Akshita Saxena
9 Oct 2020 7:12 AM GMT
Allahabad HC Issues Further Directions For Wearing Masks In Public Spaces; Resolves Conflict Between Jurisdiction Of Development Authorities & Local Municipal Authorities [Read Order]
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The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday issued detailed instructions to ensure that all persons, moving out into public places, wear masks. The Bench of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar has also taken serious note of issue of unauthorized encroachment on public land that often invite large congregation of men and women in violation of the Covid-19 guidelines. The High Court...

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The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday issued detailed instructions to ensure that all persons, moving out into public places, wear masks.

The Bench of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar has also taken serious note of issue of unauthorized encroachment on public land that often invite large congregation of men and women in violation of the Covid-19 guidelines.

The High Court has been emphasizing on the importance of wearing masks in public places, time and again.

"No person should be seen outside his/ her house without a mask on his/her face and he or she should check that the mask covers both the nose and the mouth," the High Court has previously remarked.

'Even Police Personnel Outside Their Police Stations Are Not Wearing Masks': Allahabad HC Expresses Displeasure At Shoddy Implementation Of Its Orders

The High Court has now ordered:

  • All Heads of the Department in the whole State of U.P. should send reminders to their employees that they and their family members have to compulsorily wear masks. This should be done on a daily basis.
  • The State Police should itself wear masks religiously and also see that everyone in their vicinity wears the masks. Here it may be mentioned that the security personnel deputed outside the houses of various dignitaries have not been wearing their masks. They should wear their masks and also request people passing by them that they should also wear masks.
  • All shops even other than eateries shall ensure that the customers/ individuals who enter their premises shall wear their masks at all times. Needless to say that non-wearing of masks would invite penalty and prosecution.
  • The Advocate Commissioners appointed by this Court may continue to take photographs as have been taken by them in the past and the State Authority may take action on those photographs.

Encroachment of public land

Inter alia, the High Court has directed the Development Authority, Prayagraj to immediately proceed to remove all unauthorized encroachments from public road and road side land and other public places in the city, so as to prevent large congregations at these places.

It further directed the Municipal Corporation and Police administration to render all necessary help in the anti-encroachment drive and to submit a report on the next date of hearing.

Significantly, the High Court has repeatedly asked the local authorities to prevent encroachment of public land and the menace of parking. However, it noted that the issue is still looming as the Development authorities and the Municipal bodies have been "shifting their burden upon each other" citing various provisions of the UP Urban Planning & Development Act, 1973 and the UP Municipal Corporation Act, 1959.

Deprecating the same, the Court was of the opinion that in case of any conflict, both the Acts have to be "read in harmony with each other" so that both the authorities shoulder their responsibilities in the larger public interest.

"What is needed is the achievement of the objectives under both the Acts and thus there is a requirement of a harmonious construction of the two different sets of provisions under the two Acts of 1959 and 1973. We find the provisions to be supplemental to each other," the Court said.

The Court noted that the Acts of 1959 and 1973 do not overlap. It clarified:

Development activities in the 'development areas' have to be carried out like by the Development Authorities. Such activities include: (i) carving out main public road and public land; (ii) inspection in development areas; (iii) action against unauthorized encroachers under Section 26A of the 1973 Act.

The Municipal Corporation on the other hand is responsible for maintenance of (i)drainage, (ii) public street, (iii) maintenance of lanes and by-lanes in municipal areas, (iv) electricity poles and lighting etc. and so they have been vested with the powers to ensure removal of such unauthorized encroachments also.

It further clarified,

"In any development area if the municipal corporation has been working and the development activities have to be carried out as per the master plan and zonal development plan, then in our considered opinion both the development authorities as well as the municipal corporations have to act and aid each other to ensure that no public places, public roads or road side lands or public buildings are occupied by any person, be it by raising temporary or permanent structures or be it any violation of any development activity in an area notified under the Acts."

Besides this, the Court said, cleaning of road side land, management of parking of the vehicles in commercial areas of the city alongwith rehabilitation of the road side vendors/ street vendors in duly identified vending zones are a few other tasks which have to be accomplished by the various local administrative authorities in these days of the pandemic.

Sanitizers

The Court has further asked the State Government to clarify whether along with the license to manufacture and sale of sanitizer, any requirement is there to take licenses under the Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940 and the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945.

The matter is now listed for hearing on October 14, 2020.

Case Title: In-Re Inhuman Condition At Quarantine Centres…

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