The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday rapped the UP Government for its failure to implement the social distancing norms in the state.
""Do gaj doori mask pehna zaroori" seems to be an empty shibboleth coined by the Government. Neither the Government is looking interested in implementing the rule that two individuals should remain two yards away and wear masks nor the people of our State are interested in following the above rule," a Division bench comprised of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar remarked.
The Court was hearing the suo moto case dealing with the conditions of Quarantine centers in the state, and other Covid related issues.
In its previous order, the High Court had observed that people have got a wrong impression that they can freely mix with each other and move around during the Unlock phase. During the course of hearing today, the Court was informed by certain Advocates that the citizenry continued to flout the social distancing norms.
[Unlock 2] 'People Have Got A Wrong Impression That They Can Now Freely Mix With Each Other': Allahabad HC Suggests Incarceration Of Persons Flouting Physical Distancing Norms [Read Order]
Taking strict view of the same, the Court has directed the Police along with the District Administration to see that people who crowd at shops should queue up with a distance of two yards in between two individuals.
"It matters little that the queue goes to be a kilometer long. This physical distancing will be for the good of the shopkeepers and also for the good of the people who crowd at these shops," the order states.
The bench has also issued detailed instructions to enforce the Unlock guidelines in letter and spirit and to take apposite action against the violators, including the Police authorities, if they fail to discharge their duties. The directions are reiterated at the end of this report.
Inter alia, the Court observed that the Nagar Nigam Administration had failed to remove unauthorized shops/ encroachments where people often gather, despite explicit directions.
"We, prima facie, find that the Nagar Nigam Administration is not only proceeding at a snail's pace but it has mostly remained a passive spectator of the encroachment activities in various parts of the city, as one date.
Social distancing norms cannot be followed in letter and spirit if these unauthorized encroachers are permitted to carry out commercial activities in every nook and corner of the city. It is not only the duty of the Nagar Nigam to ensure that public places in the city are absolutely encroachment free but they have also to ensure that these places are not re-encroached," the Court observed.
It has now summoned the Municipal Commissioner to remain present on the next date of hearing.
Lastly, the bench took note that the Government had failed to provide timely reports of Covid tests, and there were indications that treatment system at Government hospitals had "collapsed," as people were getting themselves treated in private hospitals rather than Government hospitals,
"The Government is coming up with various data to show that things are under its control but newspaper reports are not very encouraging. There are complaints that people, though have been tested for COVID-19 but have not yet received their reports even after a lapse of two or more weeks.
Let a proper affidavit be filed by the Chief Medical Officer before this Court in respect of the pending COVID-19 reports already tested and reports received and delivered date-wise from 20th July, 2020 till 5th August, 2020," the bench ordered.
The specific directions, as issued by the Division bench, are reiterated as under:
The matter is now listed for hearing on August 7, 2020.
Case Title: In-Re Inhuman Condition At Quarantine Centres And For Providing Better Treatment To Corona Positive Respondent
Case No.: PIL No. 574/2020
Quorum: Justice Siddhartha Varma and Justice Ajit Kumar
Appearance: Advocates Gaurav Kumar Gaur, Rishu Mishra and SPS Chauhan (for Petitioner); CSC Purnendu Kumar Singh (for State)
Click Here To Download Order