Delhi High Court has issued notice in an application highlighting the possible danger of using the centralised air conditioning system at the time of a virus pandemic.
While highlighting the importance of the issue, the Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Hari Shankar has issued notice to the Central Public Works Department of the Union Government.
The present application was moved by the Chairman of the Bar Council of Delhi, Mr KC Mittal, in an ongoing suo moto matter concerning the air pollution in Delhi.
Citing the use of centralised AC during a viral pandemic as a potential threat to life, the applicant submitted that in times of epidemics and viral infection, it can inadvertently act as massive catalysts to further the spread of virus or other infections, notably, air/aerosol borne infections. This will only add to the ongoing crisis which the country is facing.
The applicant informed the court that earlier in 2015, during the SARS and Swine Flu outbreak, a similar application was moved by the Bar concerning the centralised air conditioning in the Delhi High Court. However, no one is aware as to what action was taken therein.
'It is informed that, some measures to install ultraviolet filters, ionizers and electrostatic filters was also taken up by the Hon'ble High court, on the administrative side. However, it is not known whether the requisite equipment, infact, were installed and whether, if installed, such measures are sufficient to deal with the present viral epidemic', the application states.
Highlighting that the COVID19 is a highly contagious virus, the applicant has shown concern regarding the possible circulation of infected aerosol by the centralised air conditioning system.
It was argued that if the infected aerosol enters the air ducts of the centralised air-conditioning system, that it can potentially infect hundreds of persons present in the High Court.
The applicant has also cited a study conducted by the World Health Organization to support his claims.
In light of these concerns, the applicant has asked the court to set up a Committee of experts to examine the problem and suggest technical solutions thereto, including, but not limited to implanting ultraviolet disinfectant units into the air circulation system of the air conditioning set up in the High Court.
In addition to this, the applicant seeks directions to be issued to the Central Government and other concerned authorities to take all necessary steps and precautions to ensure that no centrally air conditioned buildings may be put to use without adequate measures and precautions being taken to prevent spread of Covid-19.