A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the action of Indian National Congress and its youth wing for violating social distancing guidelines which had been imposed in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic while protesting against the hike in petrol and diesel prices in various parts of India.
The plea, filed by Advocate-on-Record Om Prakash Parihar and Advocate Dushyant Tiwari on behalf of Advocate Supriya Pandita, states that Indian National Congress being a national political party possesses the responsibility to protect the citizens of India by following the social distancing norms that have been imposed in the country. However, they have violated the same by gathering in large numbers on 29th June for protesting against the hike in petrol and diesel prices in various parts of India. Additionally, the plea avers that members of the gathering were not even wearing masks, "which is antithesis to the Article 21 of the Constitution of India and provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure Act, 1973 and Indian Penal Code, 1860." "It is further pertinent to note that peaceful protest against the action/decision of the ruling party is not wrong, but doing it during the pandemic time is illegal and there is a high chance of increase of Coronavirus in all over India due to the irresponsible action of Respondent No. 1 and 2." The plea further states that the increase of petrol and diesel price hike could have been protested by submission of representations to the ruling parties, instead of protesting against the same, thereby increasing the chance of spreading the virus in the entire country. In light of the above, the petition prays for directions to Police Authorities to file a case against those who have violated the social distancing norms and to Investigative Agencies to investigate the reason behind permission being given for the conduct of such a protest. It further seeks for imposition of heavy penalty against Indian National Congress and the Indian Youth Congress for endangering the lives of the citizens of the country.