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"If He Wants, He Can Sit At Home Without Wearing Masks": Supreme Court Rejects Lawyer's Plea Challenging Telangana Govt. Order Making Mask Mandatory

Ashok KM
22 Sep 2022 12:52 PM GMT
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The Supreme Court dismissed a petition filed by a lawyer challenging the Telangana Government order making masks mandatory for general public.

"It does not behove an advocate to file a public interest litigation merely because in his perception mask should not be worn. If he wants, he can sit at home without wearing the mask and not come out in the open.", the bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S. Oka observed.

K. Sree Krishna, a lawyer, had filed a PIL before the Telangana High Court challenging the the executive instructions issued by the Government of Telangana on 27.3.2021 in exercise of powers conferred under the Disaster Signature N Management Act, 2005 requiring masks to be worn at all public places, work spaces and public means of transport as mandatory. According to him, the face masks do not provide any protection from COVID-19 and making masks mandatory for general public and penalizing the general public for not wearing masks is an obsolete condition.

The High Court had dismissed the petition observing that the petitioner is not an expert in the field of virology and wanted the Court to conduct a roving enquiry in respect of measures undertaken by the Government of India as well as State of Telangana based upon the guidelines issued by the Government of India from time to time in respect of COVID-19 pandemic.

While dismissing his Special Leave Petition by imposing costs of Rs.1,00,000/-, the Apex court bench observed:

"We are in complete agreement with the impugned order passed by the High Court with a caveat. They should have imposed costs on the petitioner for such a mis-conceived venture! The factum of the pandemic is known across the world. Across the world different governments have taken action and so has the Indian Government and the State Government trying to take steps to prevent the spread of the disease. It does not behove an advocate to file a public interest litigation merely because in his perception mask should not be worn. If he wants, he can sit at home without wearing the mask and not come out in the open."

Case details

K. Sree Krishna vs The State Of Telangana | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 788 | SLP(C) 5186/2022 | 19 September 2022 | Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaula and Abhay S. Oka

Headnotes

Disaster Management Act, 2005 - Covid -19 - High Court dismissed PIL challenging Telangana Government order making masks mandatory for general public - Dismissing SLP by imposing one lakh costs, the Supreme Court observed: Across the world different governments have taken action and so has the Indian Government and the State Government trying to take steps to prevent the spread of the disease. It does not behove an advocate to file a public interest litigation merely because in his perception mask should not be worn. If he wants, he can sit at home without wearing the mask and not come out in the open.

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