Allahabad HC disappointed by individuals for not adhering to COVID 19 norms

Sushree Mohanty

The Allahabad High Court has communicated its disappointment over reports of individuals not abiding by the rule of wearing “facial masks” in public places amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Taking into account the reports of several individuals who were punished with a fine for violating the Covid-19 precautionary guidelines in the city of Prayagraj, a two-judge bench
comprising of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar said that, “This modest number of penalization shows that the police have likewise gotten complacent”

Further, the Bench ordered for stricter execution of its request dated March 1, and also gave out few bearings to be followed by the State. The court added that the inability to follow the rules will attract heavy punishments as per the Epidemic Diseases Act and other significant laws like the Disaster Management Act.

In a proceeding, the Advocate Commissioner, designated by the Court to take care of the execution of Covid-19 precautionary rules informed the court that nearly no one is abiding by the rule of wearing a facial mask. Additionally, the Police Department submitted a report before the court stating that they have imposed a fine on about 1192 individuals for not wearing a mask in the city of Prayagraj, from the date of its request.

Disappointed with the submissions, the Bench looked for the arrangement of a “responsible cop” to notify the Court regarding why actions are not undertaken to carry out the Court’s notice. The court has additionally directed the High Court to file a response regarding the steps undertaken by the authority to ensure proper adherence to the Covid-19 safety rules in the building.

The matter is adjourned for an additional hearing. The present order is not the first occasion when the Allahabad High Court has
expressed its dismay over the Uttar Pradesh Police for its inability to uphold the Covid-19 safety rules. Previously, when the infection was spreading at a faster rate, the Court had requested that the Police should ensure that no individual is found in a public place without wearing a mask.

Additionally, the bench said that the Police and the concerned authority cannot put the blame on the general public alone and steer away by stating that despite their earnest attempts, the masks are not being worn. In another request, the Bench had reprimanded the authority for tuning the social distancing guidelines into an “unfilled custom”.