A public interest litigation has been filed before the Bombay High Court challenging the State's decision to re-impose lockdown in Pune and other districts of Maharashtra starting from July 14 for 10 days without issuing guidelines for providing some financial assistance/aid to farmers, labourers and poor people in general for immediate relief.
The petitioner, 34-year-old Vicky Mane is a vegetable vendor who sought directions to the State government to frame guidelines for the poor and downtrodden persons, like, farmers, labourers, daily wagers, people below poverty line, vendors, small businesses, migrants etc., for the purpose of providing compensation, subsidies, stimulus, and ex gratia aid to such persons for immediate relief, rehabilitation, restoration of their means of livelihood, as per the constitutional and statutory mandate under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Filed through Advocates Rajesh Inamdar, Shashwat Anand and A Karim Pathan, the petition states-
"The petitioner with utmost respect and concern submits that people are aware of the dangers of Covid-19 and take due precautions, safeguards and adhere to physical distancing norms. As of now, people are more worried about their survival, i.e. starving to death and are further sinking into poverty and misery rather than of Covid-19. It is submitted that the mortality rate of starvation is 100%, much more than the mortality rate of Covid-19, which is said to be around 4%."
The Pune Municipal Corporation in an order dated July 12 issued guidelines for re-imposing of lockdown between July 14 and July 23. Petitioner argued that he is not challenging the imposition of lockdown itself as it has been imposed to tackle the spread of Covid-19 which continues to rise in Pune. But, the petition states-
"It is a bounden duty of the State while re-imposing the lockdown, to also protect, preserve and uphold other precious fundamental rights of citizens like Right to Livelihood, Right to Food, Right To Life, Right to Work and Right to Work With Human Dignity guaranteed by Article 21 of the constitution, which are bound to be affected and violated if such decision is allowed to continue sans guidelines.
Moreover, the petitioner contends that everytime lockdown is imposed it directly impacts the livelihood of poor and vulnerable sections of the society. Thus, directions are sought to the state government for framing guidelines providing for compensation, assistance, subsidies, stimulus, ex-gratia aid for migrants, poor farmers, labourers, people below poverty line etc.
Petitioner has also sought directions for disclosure of the exact plan in executing the lockdown and whether it will be extended or not.
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