COVID SOPs must be followed scrupulously during festivals: HC

A view of the Delhi High Court   | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The Delhi High Court on Monday told the Centre, the city government, the police and various authorities here that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), guidelines and protocols set for COVID-appropriate behaviour and managing crowds in marketplaces must be followed scrupulously in this festive season.

A Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh made the observation while hearing a public interest litigation initiated by the High Court on violation of COVID-19 protocols in various markets in the Capital.

DDMA meeting tomorrow

The court’s order came on a day the BJP announced that it has begun preparations for the observance of Chhath Puja at public places across the city — along with vaccination camps for the devotees — even though the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) is yet to take a call on allowing the festivities. A meeting of the DDMA — to be chaired by Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal and attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal — is scheduled for Wednesday to take a call on the issue.

‘“Your guidelines, SOPs and protocols must be followed very scrupulously. See this is festival season. Strict compliance is required,” the Bench remarked, adding that the authorities should focus on managing the crowd rather than collecting penalties for COVID-19 norms violations.

The Delhi government’s counsel said they had issued appropriate guidelines and had also shut down markets where protocols were not being followed properly.

The Central government had earlier informed the court that it had asked all States and Union Territories to ensure strict compliance with the national directives for COVID-19 management and take necessary measures under the Disaster Management Act.

The High Court posted the case for further hearing on November 30. The Bench said it was keeping the matter pending as it wanted to see how the authorities were controlling the situation.

North East Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari said the BJP has started preparations for Chhath celebrations with all precautions and safety measures “in the right earnest”.

He said Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri will start a vaccination camp on October 26 from Kadipur so that all those taking part in the festivities are vaccinated. “I exhort all party councillors and workers to start cleanliness drives at Chhath ghats. When our workers will complete all this work, CM Arvind Kejriwal will suddenly jump in to put his stamp and take credit,” Mr. Tiwari said.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 3:52:30 PM |

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