Supreme Court stays Gujarat HC direction to send people not wearing masks to Covid centres
The Supreme Court on Thursday said sending people, who do not wear masks, for community service at Covid centres may cause health issues, as it stayed the directions in the Gujarat High Court order.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said sending people, who do not wear masks, for community service at Covid centres may cause health issues, as it stayed the directions in the Gujarat High Court order. However, the top court noted that the Gujarat government should enforce mask and social distancing norms.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Gujarat government, said the harm of not wearing the mask is much lesser than sending the person to a Covid centre.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising Justices R.Subhash Reddy and M. R. Shah told Mehta: "You are correct, it is difficult to implement. The High Court has passed several orders regarding this and there is a lack of will to implement this."
Justice Shah pointed out that thousands of people are gathering, what is the Gujarat government doing? Mehta replied this is a nationwide problem, which needs to be dealt on a war footing. Justice Shah added that marriage ceremonies are happening with thousands of people and everybody is in either the market or mall.
Mehta submitted that some people enjoy being undisciplined. The bench noted that people who are not wearing masks are violating fundamental rights of other persons. Mehta informed that the police was authorized to charge a fine of Rs 1,000 for not wearing a mask.
Justice Bhushan queried: "Suppose a social gathering takes place, do they have to inform authorities?" Mehta replied, "Yes, a permission is required."
Earlier in the day, Mehta had sought permission from a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan to circulate a Special Leave Petition challenging the Gujarat High Court verdict which mandates those who don't wear masks to serve in the Covid centres.