The Allahabad High Court on Monday suggested the Uttar Pradesh Government to take strict action against those not following physical distancing norms, including 'incarceration'.
The suggestion was made by a division bench comprised of Justice Siddhartha Varma and Justice Ajit Kumar, after it was informed that the residents are "freely mixing" with each other and are not taking precautions like wearing of masks and washing of hands etc.
"Though we see that the economy is reviving, we are also seeing from the various news reports that the infection of Covid-19 virus is speedily rising. This probably is because of the fact that the denizens of the State of Uttar Pradesh do not understand the concept of "Unlock-2"
Somehow because of the Unlock-2, our people have got a wrong impression that they can now freely mix with each other and move around," the bench observed.
It therefore directed the State Government to "chalk out" a plan to see how the concept of physical distancing can be implemented in letter and spirit.
"We would not hesitate in suggesting that incarceration and high fines be thought of. We cannot understand why the Uttar Pradesh Epidemic Disease Covid-19 Regulations, 2020 is not being implemented properly which clearly envisages action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. Also we cannot understand why Section 144 of the Cr.P.C., which we are told is in force, is not being used," the bench added.
In these circumstances, Additional Advocate General Manish Goyal assured the Court that a decision on this issue will be taken by a high level committee.
"We expect that the denizens of the State of U.P. become sensitive to the issue of physical distancing. We expect that not only would they maintain physical distancing but would also help the administration by providing information about persons who come from out of State and were not observing physical distancing and were not quaranting themselves," the Court said.
Inter alia, it directed the State Government to devise a blue print indicating:
- The policy to make available Corona treatment in private Nursing Homes;
- The plan regarding Plasma treatment;
- Detailed plan for systemic disposal of used masks.
As of date, the state of Uttar Pradesh has 38130 confirmed Covid case and has recorded 955 deaths due to the infection. Keeping in view the worsening conditions, the state Government has decided to impose lockdowns on every weekend.
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); ASGI Shashi Prakash Singh assisted by Advocate Purnendu Kumar Singh (for Union of India); AAG Manish Goyal assisted by Advocate AK Goyal (for State)