Delhi High Court has dismissed a PIL which had challenged the June 30 order of the Ministry of Home Affairs wherein considerable relaxations from lockdown were operationalised under 'Unlock 1.0'.
While disposing off the petition, the Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad imposed costs running into ₹20,000. The same shall be deposited to the Delhi High Court Bar Association Lawyers' Security and Welfare Fund.
While noting that lockdown had caused more human suffering that the COVID19 itself, the court observed that:
'the lockdown has resulted in loss of jobs for several lakhs of people. Scores of people were forced to walk considerable distance during the lockdown and stand in long queues at Food distribution centers just to have two square meals a day. Several have gone hungry and were not able to get one meal. Many were left shelterless. Several lakhs of migrant labour had to walk on foot and go back to their native places.'
The court also highlighted that economic situation of the country has taken a terrible hit due to the lockdown.
The court further highlighted that the government passed Unlock 1.0 to ensure a proper balance between containing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and at the same time make certain that people are not forced to starvation.
Filed by Mr Arjun Agarwal, the petition had challenged the June 30 order of the Ministry of Home Affairs wherein, on the advisory of National Disaster Management Authority, Centre had extended the lockdown in the Containment Zones till 30.06.2020 and issued directive for re–opening of the prohibited activities in the areas outside the Containment Zones.
By the said order, the Petitioner argued, MHA has casted the unconventional and unworkable obligation upon the citizens to ensure safety at large of the society and protection from the current global predicament at hand.
It was further argued that by the said order, the government has shrugged off its responsibility to protect the Right to Health and other fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
The Petitioner also submitted that the MHA has failed in facilitating with any specific mechanism in which the current guidelines can be achieved, as the given infrastructure of our country and the manifest violations by the individuals of the previous notifications/ orders/ guidelines issued by the authorities.
Therefore, the Petitioner had argued that:
'The impugned order is manifestly illegal, unconstitutional, perverse and is issued without considering the welfare and civil rights of the citizens at large; and also in abrogation of the obligations of the State as well recognised in Public International Law.'
While disposing of the petition, the court said:
'Courts do not and cannot act as an appellate authority examining the correctness, suitability and appropriateness of the policy; nor are courts advisors to the executive in matters of policy which the executive is entitled to formulate. Courts cannot interfere with the policy either on the ground that it is erroneous or on the ground that a better or a wiser alternative is available.'
Click Here Download Order