The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a petition filed challenging the order of the Director General and Inspector General of Police, allowing super markets to remain open 24x7, to ensure uninterrupted supply of grocery and other essential items to citizens.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice B V Nagarathna while disposing off the petition filed by Sandhya U Prabhu said
"It cannot be disputed that in lockdown period, it is the duty of the State Government and Central Government to ensure the uninterrupted supply of grocery and other essential articles to the citizens. Depending upon the circumstances and local situation, it is for the authorities to take a decision regarding the time during which grocery shops and supermarkets can be kept open. The state government can always issue directions for strictly observing social distancing and other norms."
The petitioner had argued that "If the supermarkets are kept open 24x7, a large number of people will enter the supermarkets and will touch the articles which are displayed for sale. This will result in the spread of Covid-19. Thus the working hours of super markets will have to be restricted."
The bench said "The decision to keep open super markets 24x7 relates to purely a policy decision. We do not find anything arbitrary in the said policy decision and therefore, no interference is called for by this court in writ jurisdiction."
The petition had also opposed the decision of permitting the use of 180, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses for facilitating transport of people for ensuring that a provision is made for rendering essential services. The petitioner had argued that "Cleanliness is not maintained in BMTC buses and if permission to travel is granted to 20 passengers in a bus, it will again result in spread of Covid-19."
The court rejected the argument saying "It cannot be disputed that for the Government employees and for the employees of the local authorities, who are working in the departments providing essential services, transport arrangement has to be made by the authorities. Necessary measures are being taken for maintaining social distancing while traveling is allowed by BMTC buses. We do not find per se anything wrong, arbitrary or illegal in the decision taken to allow BMTC buses to be used for transportation of persons who are connected with providing the essential services."
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