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Unfortunately, simple measure of wearing mask need to be enforced through coercive measures, says Tripura HC

By Astha Joshi

While examining the affidavit and the other documents filed by the State government, the Tripura High Court had observed that the State Government had taken out a drive on 18th and 19th September. It was for violation of the guidelines for wearing masks in public.

The divisional bench of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice S. Talapatra noted, “It may not be possible for the administration to carry on the drive at the same level of intensity, however, we would request the State government to ensure that the violations for not wearing masks are detected and penalty collected as per rules and regulations.”

While hearing, the Court noted that to control the rising number of COVID cases, wearing a mask and maintaining social distance at public places are the two key directions that need to be followed whatsoever. It is not the sole responsibility of the administration.

The Court remarked, “It is unfortunate that a measure, such as wearing of the mask which is simple and which is meant for the safety of the person himself or herself, needs to be enforced through coercive measures. Unlike the safety measures, such as wearing a seat belt in a car or a helmet on a two-wheeler, the person breaching the rule of wearing a mask in public not only exposes himself or herself but also other members of the society by being careless.”

The Advocate General informed the Court that there is a plunge in the number of testing done by the government.

The Court replied that this was the “matter of government policy with respect to which we have no comments to offer.” It further went on – “However, if on account of this policy decision the testing capability of the Government has been spared, should it not be diverted for testing other members of the public which will give a better assessment to the administration about the current status of the coronavirus in the State. We would request the government to consider this aspect.”

The Court noted a report submitted by the Advocate General (which was given to him by the Central Expert Team during their long stay in the state) that it had suggestions that can be considered to improve the current situation. The State government had informed that they have already started implementing the recommendations made by the committee.

Furthermore, the Court asked the government to form a team of doctors and other medical experts who would visit COVID hospitals and inspect the facilities and treatments available at the centre and report to the Court.

The matter will be next heard on 5th October.