The High Court of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday came down heavily upon a Petitioner seeking quashing of the Government order preventing disclosure of identities of Covid positive patients.
The bench of Justices Sanjay Yadav and Vishal Dhagat observed that the impugned order of the MP Government dated May 19, 2020, which was based on an advisory issued by the Central Government, had been issued in larger public interest.
"The Advisory as well as the Order issued by the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh are in larger public interest to prevent any chaos in the society and also to prevent the person whose test Covid 19 results positive from the public wrath," the bench observed.
Through the impugned order, the State Health Commissioner had restrained all Divisional Commissioners, District Collectors, Chief Medical Officers and Health Officers of the State from publishing information relating to any Corona positive patients on any of the public platforms.
Finding the order to be justified in view of the stigma attached to Coivd patients, the court was in fact of the opinion that the PIL, filed by Nagrik Upbhokta Margdarshak Manch, was contrary to public interest.
"We do not perceive any merit in the Public Interest Litigation filed by the petitioner. On the contrary the relief sought by the petitioner runs contrary to the public interest. Being not a public interest litigation, we are inclined to dismiss the writ petition with the cost of Rs.25,000/-," the bench said.
However, as the petitioner prayed the court to allow him to withdraw the petition, the Court dismissed the petition as withdrawn.
Last month, the Madras High Court had dismissed a similar petition seeking to divulge the identities of the COVID-19 affected persons, for effective contact tracing, stating that "there would be definitely a social stigma and aspersions on account of the same."
The Orissa High Court has also, as an interim measure, directed the state authorities to preserve the identities of Covid-19 patients/ suspects, and ensure that the same are not disclosed either to the media or during inter-departmental communications.
Case Title: Nagrik Upbhokta Margdarshak Manch v. State of MP
Case No.: WP (PIL) No. 7596/2020
Quorum: Justices Sanjay Yadav and Vishal Dhagat
Appearance: Advocate Dinesh Upadhyay (for Petitioner); Govt Advocate A. Rajeshwar Rao (for State)
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