7 Jan 2021 7:15 AM GMT
The Chief Justice of India on Thursday raised concerns about spreading of COVID-19 as a result of the Farmers Protest while hearing a plea seeking action against authorities for allowing the Tablighi Jamaat congregation to take place last March amid the pandemic.CJI SA Bobde, presiding the bench hearing the matter, asked Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta as to whether precautionary...
The Chief Justice of India on Thursday raised concerns about spreading of COVID-19 as a result of the Farmers Protest while hearing a plea seeking action against authorities for allowing the Tablighi Jamaat congregation to take place last March amid the pandemic.
CJI SA Bobde, presiding the bench hearing the matter, asked Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta as to whether precautionary measures were being taken amongst the protesting farmers. He noted that it could give rise to a situation similar to the Tablighi Jamaat incident.
"Same problem may arise from farmers' protests too. I don't know if farmers are protected from COVID19", the CJI remarked in reference to the farmers protests at Delhi borders which had been ongoing since November 26.
The SG informed the Court that he would find the status of the same. To this, the CJI stated, "We are trying to ensure that COVID does not spread. Ensure that guidelines are being followed".
The observations were made by the CJI while presiding over a plea filed by Advocate-on-Record Om Prakash Parihar and Advocate Dushyant Tiwari, on behalf of Advocate Supriya Pandita, which also seeks for an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into "the matter related to the assembly of people at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal and Markaz in Nizamuddin as the Respondent No. 5 failed to control the people and the Nizamuddin Markaz chief Maulana Saad is still not arrested till now".
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has highlighted the advisory issued by Respondent No. 1 on 16.03.2020 on Social Distancing measures wherein religious leaders have been advised to regulate mass gatherings and to prevent overcrowding. Further, on 23.03.2020, the Prime Minister of India announced a national lockdown for a period of 21 days to prevent the spread of the virus.
MIGRANT WORKERS AT ANAND VIHAR BUS TERMINAL However, despite the lockdown, on 28.03.2020, "tens of thousands of migrant workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, who were working in Delhi assembled outside the Anand Vihar Bus Terminal, Delhi, elbowing each other to board the first available bus that would take them to their hometown or village". The plea states that no action was taken by Respondent No. 5, 2 and 3 to stop these workers. In fact, they arranged DTC buses to drop them at the terminal.
The process was similarly repeated n 29.03.2020, "which clearly shows that the Respondents have failed to control the people from coming out from their respective houses which lead to create overcrowding at the bus station and UP-Delhi border".
The plea states that in order to tackle the spread of the virus, everyone must practice social distancing. However, despite knowing the same, the Respondents failed to stop the migrant workers and thereby violated Article 21 of the Constitution of India and provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and Indian Penal Code, 1860.
The plea goes on to highlight another incident which stems from the event which took place between 15.03.2020 and 17.03.2020 at a Markaz in Nizamuddin, wherein 24 people who had attended the event, tested positive.
It has been averred that more than 2000 delegates were present at the Markaz and many have tested positive due to cluster transmission of the virus. In light of the same, Respondent No. 2 has failed to arrest the Nizamuddin Markaz chief Maulana Saad, who had organized the event.
The plea submits that "the Respondent No. 2 has failed to explain till now that why huge number of people were allowed to be assembled at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal and Markaz in Nizamuddin" and that this failure evidently portrays the lack of inaction in protecting the citizen of the country from the spread of the virus.
The plea also alludes to statements made by BJP Minister Mr. Kapil Mishra wherein he states that the Delhi Government "made announcements in the colonies where UP-Bihar migrants are staying in Delhi, informing them that the Delhi govt-run DTC buses will take them to the Anand Vihar Bus Terminal".
It has further been averred that the Delhi Govt has purposely cut the electricity and water supply of migrant workers, and that this requires an inquiry from the CBI. On June 5, the Central Government submitted to the Supreme Court that no separate probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was required to be initiated in the Nizammuddin Markaz issue.