Delhi High Court has noted that the period of 14 days, as stipulated in the Home Quarantine Guidelines of March 14 and the COVID19 Regulations of 2020, are not mandatory, but is intended to serve a general guideline.
In order to balance the principles of personal liberty and public health, the Single Bench of Justice Hari Shankar further observed that if any person, who does not display COVID19 symptoms, and has not tested positive for the COVID19 virus, is home quarantined for over 14 days, he shall have a right to represent to the authorities against such continued quarantine.
The authorities would be bound either to lift the quarantine forthwith, or to explain, to the person concerned, as expeditiously as possible and without any undue delay, the reason for keeping him in home quarantine for over 14 days.
The petition stated the following,
The Petitioner is one of the 72 people identified in the contact tracing conducted for a food delivery person who tested positive for COVID19 on 14.4.2020. He also admits that he had only one point of contact with the infected individual, i.e. at midnight on 24.03.2020/25.03.2020.
The Petitioner submitted that it has been over 30 days since the first and last point of contact, yet, the Petitioner remains in home quarantine, despite the stipulated time period of 14 days from contact having lapsed.
The Petitioner was further aggrieved by the fact that the authorities had arbitrarily put up two home quarantine notices at Petitioner’s house, calculating the 14 days quarantine period from 15th and 17th April respectively, which the Petitioner argues is against both the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as well as the World Health Organisation.
Further, he also wanted a direction to the Delhi Government to to appropriately amend the format of its Home Quarantine Notice to reflect date of contact with infected person/ reason for quarantine, date and time of imposition of quarantine and date and time for end of quarantine.
The court observed the following pertaining to case,
The court rejected the Petitioner’s claim regarding violation of principles of natural justice by noting that the District Magistrate’s notice, dated April 20, was merely a notice issued pursuant to complaints against the Petitioner, and directing him to desist from breaching the quarantine imposed on him.It did not propose any action against the Petitioner, civil or criminal.
The court also did not find it appropriate to mention the date of contact with the infected person on the quarantine person. Finding the lack of any public interest and feasibility in such public disclosure of date of contact, the court noted that there are various grounds on which a person may be placed under home quarantine, not all of which are necessarily relatable to her, or his, having come in contact with a person who tested positive for the COVID-2019 virus.
‘However, all notices, placing persons under home quarantine, have necessarily to indicate the period of home quarantine, as well as the date from which it is to commence’, the court highlighted.
On the issue of the quarantined person in need to get in touch with the authorities in case of an exigency, the court took into consideration the response submitted by the government which states that there’s a helpline number which the quarantined person can dial during an exigency. The said number will also be displayed on the official website.
Bombay HC Exempts Judges Of Subordinate Courts From Wearing Black Coat/Gown & Lawyers From Wearing Black Coat
The Bombay High Court has decided to exempt all the judges of subordinate courts in Maharashtra, Goa, UTs of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu from wearing both the black coat and gown, whereas lawyers appearing before them have been exempt from wearing black coats. It is clarified that the judges may wear either the coat or the gown while occupying the dais.
The notice dated May 11 has been signed by Dinesh Sharma, Registrar (Inspection). All principal judges in Districts have been directed to bring the above to the notice of all the judicial officers and bar associations in their respective districts.
Read the Order here: