‘With no transport, govt.’s decision on offices unfair’

The Delhi HC said that the Centre’s decision to allow private offices to open with 33% strength is discrimination against those without own vehicle. It added that it was unjust for such persons as no provision was made for them to commute to work during the lockdown.

A Bench of Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued notice to the Centre and the city government seeking their response on a petition to permit resuming of public transports in the Capital.

“We find that vide notification dated May 1, 2020, of the respondent UOI [Union of India], while private offices with 33% strength have been permitted to be opened but no provision has been made for employees of such private offices to commute to work, resulting in such of the employees of such private offices having own transport, reporting for work and earning their livelihood and those without own transport being discriminated against,” the Bench observed.

“We have noticed in the court also that owing to this situation, the entire burden of court work has fallen on those having their own transport, with the others not sharing the workload at all,” it added.

Take precautions

The Delhi government and the counsel for Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) stated that they are in a position to recommence the public transport services in Delhi and to take precaution to prevent further spread of virus.

But, the Delhi government stated that it was not in a position to relax the measures prescribed by the Centre in exercise of powers under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It is further stated that the ban on Intrastate Public Transport including autorickshaw, taxies and radio taxies has been imposed by the Centre.

While Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya, representing the Centre, contended that restrictions are only in ‘Red Zone’, the court noted “the fact of the matter as of today is that the entire city of Delhi has been classified as ‘Red Zone’”.

When, the ASG contended that some responsibility would have to be taken by the civil society, the bench said, “There can be no doubt about the same but we are entertaining this petition because the same in our view is resulting in discrimination, as aforesaid”.

The HC was hearing a public interest petition by Shreesh Chadha seeking, apart from resuming public transports, a direction to the authorities to frame guidelines to ensure safety and hygiene of the passengers and public transport operators.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 10:02:14 AM |

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