Delhi HC “Mandatory to wear masks even when alone in vehicle”

Aryan Grover

Justice M Pratibha of the Delhi High court in its ruling of Saurabh Sharma vs Sub-Divisional Magistrate, East & Ors stated that it would be mandatory to wear a mask in a private vehicle, even when the person is alone in the vehicle.

It was also noted that the face covering is like a ‘Suraksha Kavach’ (protective shield) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among several petitions challenging the fines imposed on those who were driving alone in their cars, this judgement was passed. The court refused to interfere with the Delhi government’s decision to impose challans for people not wearing a mask, even though they were alone in their vehicle.

The Court reasoned by stating that if the vehicle traverses through public places, there is an increased chance of exposure to others. It added that wearing masks is encouraged even within the home if there are elderly persons or persons with co-morbidities living alongside.

Justice Pratibha stated, “A mask is like a Suraksha Kavach for preventing the spread of the coronavirus. It protects the person wearing it as also the person who is exposed…wearing of masks has been one measure that has saved millions of lives.”

One of the petitioners, Saurabh Sharma, is an advocate who had sought compensation of Rs. 10 lakh after being fined for Rs. 500. He contended that the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) guidelines only state that the mask has to be worn in a public place or place of work.

The Delhi Government had told the Delhi High Court that any person moving in their personal or official vehicle must compulsorily be wearing masks.