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'Usage Of Disinfectant Tunnels Harmful, Not Recommended': Centre Tells SC

Sanya Talwar
7 Sep 2020 8:25 AM GMT
Usage Of Disinfectant Tunnels Harmful, Not Recommended: Centre Tells SC
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Centre informed the Supreme Court on Monday that usage of disinfectant tunnels is not recommended and is harmful & that appropriate directions & Circular stipulating the desistance from their usage to all concerned will be issued.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy & MR Shah asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that why the ban was not already enforced if their usage was harmful.

The law officer assured the bench that the same will be done shortly and sought a week's time to place the relevant details on record.

Bench allowed SG to do so and listed the case for further consideration after two weeks.

The Court was hearing a PIL seeking complete ban on sanitization tunnels being used across the country to disinfect entrants of a public place/ premises.

On August 10, the top court had issued notice the Union of India on the petition filed and argued by Gursimran Singh Narula, a final year law student.

Narula has claimed that the so called disinfectant tunnels are not only "ineffective" in preventing spread of the virus but also have dangerous after effects, as they expose human beings to ultra violet rays, and the same amounts to "non-consensual medical experimentation".

"WHO and other health experts across the world have alarmed that unchecked and mis-informed usage of such disinfection tunnels can have serious physical and psychological consequences on human beings," the plea states.

Apart from WHO, he pointed out, even the Directorate General of Health Services (EMR Division), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare issued an advisory in April this year, against spraying of disinfectant on people for COVID-19 management.

However, certain Indian medical institutions such as Pune-based Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-National Chemical Laboratory and Mumbai-based Institute of Chemical Technology have casted doubt on scientific value of the Government advisory against spraying of disinfectants on human beings.

This, Narula asserts, has resulted in spread of mis-information in public and has promoted unscrupulous use of self-claimed organic disinfectants. Even many IPS officers, he pointed out, have misconstrued the advisory and are promoting the use of disinfectant tunnels in schools and other public places.

The advisory stated that spraying of individuals or groups is NOT recommended under any circumstances and it can lead to irritation of eyes, skin and potentially gastrointestinal and psychological problems. It further added that such measures may in fact lead to false sense of disinfection & safety and actually hamper public observance to hand washing and social distancing measures.

He has contended that such "faulty notions" that spraying of disinfectants on human beings has no adverse health impact has led to violation of right to healthy life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Accordingly, he has sought forthwith ban on the usage, installation, production, advertisement of disinfection tunnels involving spraying or fumigation of chemical disinfectants for the purposes disinfecting human beings.

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