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Wearing Mask Compulsory Even While Driving Alone During COVID-19 Pandemic, Says Delhi High Court

The wearing of a face mask was one measure which saved millions of lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, Delhi High Court pointed out

Wearing Mask Compulsory Even While Driving Alone During Pandemic, Says Delhi High Court
Highlights
  • Vehicle even if occupied by 1 person would constitute a public place: HC
  • Wearing of a mask should be compulsory due to the pandemic: HC
  • Wearing masks is must irrespective of whether a person is vaccinated: HC

New Delhi: Wearing a mask while driving alone in a private vehicle is compulsory as it is a public place in the context of COVID-19, the Delhi High Court held on Wednesday (April 7) and described face covering as a ‘suraksha kavach’ or protective shield against the spread of the infection. Justice Prathiba M Singh refused to interfere with the Delhi government’s decision to impose challans for not wearing a mask while driving a private car alone, saying a vehicle even if occupied by one person would constitute a public place.

Also Read: New Wave Of COVID-19 Spreading Faster Than Last Year, Demand For Beds Increasing: Delhi’s LNJP Hospital

There are several possibilities in which while sitting alone in the car one could be exposed to the outside world. Thus, it cannot be said that merely because the person is travelling alone in a car, the car would not be a public place. “Wearing of a mask therein would be compulsory in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the court said.

Masks are necessary irrespective of whether a person is vaccinated or not, it added. Justice Singh’s ruling and observations came while dismissing four petitions by lawyers who challenged the imposition of ‘challans’ for not wearing a mask while driving alone in a private vehicle.

The wearing of a mask is like a ‘suraksha kavach’ for preventing the spread of COVID-19, the court said, noting that a mask protects the person wearing it and also those exposed to him or her.

The wearing of a face mask was “one measure which saved millions of lives” during the pandemic, it pointed out.

Also Read: Delhi Has Taken More Air Pollution Control Measures Than Any Other City But There Is Still A Long Way Ahead: CSE Report

The court further noted in its verdict that upon the outbreak of the pandemic, globally as well as nationally, scientists, researchers, international organizations and governments emphasised the importance of wearing facial masks to control the spread of the disease.

In the absence of a complete definitive cure, the world continues to wrestle with the pandemic. The challenge of the pandemic was enormous at the outbreak of the same and even with the introduction of a few vaccines, the emphasis continues to be laid on wearing face masks. The wearing of masks is necessary irrespective of whether a person is vaccinated or not, it said.

The lawyers, in their pleas, had contended that the District Magistrates who were vested with the powers to impose fines could not have sub-delegated the powers to others. Disagreeing with the contention, Justice Singh said that the definition of ‘authorised persons’ being inclusive and expansive in nature, District Magistrates were also vested with powers to further authorise any officers to issue challans.

The list of officers, who were authorised is broad and in the opinion of this court it has to be interpreted expansively and not restrictively….The challans have been issued by duly authorised officers. The prayer for quashing of the challans is thus not sustainable, the court said.

It further said that being lawyers and advocates, the petitioners “ought to recognise and assist in the implementation of the measures for curtailing the spread of the pandemic, instead of questioning the legality of the same”. Compliance of the measures by lawyers would encourage the general public to also comply with the same. During the proceedings, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, represented by advocate Farman Ali Magray, had told the court that it has not issued any direction asking people to wear masks in a car when they are alone.

The ministry said health is a state subject and the Delhi government has to take a decision on it. The Delhi government had told the court that wearing masks while driving an official or personal vehicle was made compulsory through an office order in April last year and it remained in force. It also said a private vehicle was held to be a public place by the Supreme Court.

Also Read: Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases, Delhi Government Imposes Night Curfew From 10 pm To 5 am, Releases Guidelines

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,06,78,961Cases
20,23,40,977Active
3,34,39,331Recovered
48,98,653Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,06,78,961 and 48,98,653 have died; 20,23,40,977 are active cases and 3,34,39,331 have recovered as on October 18, 2021 at 4:17 am.

India

3,40,81,315 13,596Cases
1,89,6946,152Active
3,34,39,331 19,582Recovered
4,52,290 166Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,81,315 confirmed cases including 4,52,290 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,89,694 and 3,34,39,331 have recovered as on October 18, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,91,697 1,715

32,230 994

64,19,678 2,680

1,39,789 29

Kerala

48,54,321 7,555

88,186 3,292

47,39,270 10,773

26,865 74

Karnataka

29,83,459 326

9,479 58

29,36,039 380

37,941 4

Tamil Nadu

26,87,092 1,218

14,814 208

26,36,379 1,411

35,899 15

Andhra Pradesh

20,60,472 432

6,034 159

20,40,131 586

14,307 5

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,028 9

119 10

16,87,011 19

22,898

West Bengal

15,80,530 624

7,421 24

15,54,132 634

18,977 14

Delhi

14,39,390 32

320 6

14,13,981 38

25,089

Odisha

10,35,077 443

4,542 68

10,22,250 508

8,285 3

Chhattisgarh

10,05,654 16

183 2

9,91,901 14

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,390 2

42 2

9,45,394 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,290 10

207 6

8,15,997 16

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,684 5

84 12

7,82,077 17

10,523

Haryana

7,71,076 15

123 9

7,60,904 6

10,049

Bihar

7,26,026 5

48 4

7,16,317 1

9,661

Telangana

6,68,955 122

3,924 55

6,61,093 176

3,938 1

Assam

6,06,468 205

3,436 46

5,97,082 245

5,950 6

Punjab

6,02,035 27

227 8

5,85,264 16

16,544 3

Jharkhand

3,48,430 7

122 1

3,43,173 8

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,756 9

178 1

3,36,181 8

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,062 95

843 12

3,25,793 107

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,437 131

1,303 5

2,16,414 125

3,720 1

Goa

1,77,522 60

604 6

1,73,572 62

3,346 4

Puducherry

1,27,396 52

585 13

1,24,961 64

1,850 1

Manipur

1,22,737 104

1,422 0

1,19,418 102

1,897 2

Mizoram

1,12,848 249

11,633 1,143

1,00,829 1,389

386 3

Tripura

84,321 16

104 4

83,401 12

816

Meghalaya

82,953 55

845 32

80,673 86

1,435 1

Chandigarh

65,302 3

25 3

64,457 6

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,987 7

140 30

54,567 37

280

Sikkim

31,749 4

174 8

31,184 12

391

Nagaland

31,611 40

248 12

30,689 28

674

Ladakh

20,878 2

36 10

20,634 12

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,676 1

4 1

10,668

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,641

9 0

7,503

129

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