The Karnataka High Court directed the state government to submit separate inquiry reports made by officers with respect to alleged breaches of social distancing norms. A Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice SS Magadum opined that the state government ought to conduct inquiries into violations of social distancing norms rather than rely on complaints filed by the public.
Appearing for the state government, Additional Advocate General Dhyan Chinnappa said that certain functions were conducted in private places, and therefore, there was no violation of social distancing norms in a public place like religious places .
Responding to this, the Court asked,
“If there is a function held in private space or religious places, the rule of wearing masks and social distancing are not applicable? Are you (state government) suggesting that?…….If a person has a large house and he holds a marriage ceremony, the authorities say that it was in private house and therefore, we are least concerned about social distancing, masks, etc…”
The Court asked whether there were any guidelines laid down by the governments for celebrating Independence Day on August 15 under the prevailing circumstances.
In response, Central Government Counsel Kumar informed the Court that the Central government had already issued guidelines in this regard for religious places too.
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Advocate GR Mohan then argued that politicians conducting rallies and flouting social distancing guidelines was one of the primary reasons for the quick spread of COVID-19 cases in the state.
“Prevention is the most important thing”, Mohan contended.
The matter has been posted for hearing on August 11.