‘How can court decide on COVID-19 zoning and quarantine centres?’

HC was hearing two separate PIL petitions filed by residents of Doddaballapur

The Karnataka High Court on Friday questioned a batch of litigants how the court could decide the correctness of zoning of COVID-19 districts, and where and how quarantine centres will have to be set up.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice V. Srishananda orally posed these questions during the hearing of two separate PIL petitions filed by residents of Doddaballapur in Bengaluru district.

In their petition, R. Ravi Kumar and 14 others had questioned classification of Bengaluru Rural district as COVID-19 red zone and setting up of quarantine centres.

How can the High Court decide which district has to be declared as red, orange or gree zones? Can the court decide in what manner quarantine centres will have to be set up? These matters are decided by the authorities and the experts, the bench observed orally.

“If everyone start opposing quarantine facilities in their places, then where should the quarantine centres have to be established? Can they be established in forests? Those kept in quarantine centres are human beings, and they are being looked after by healthcare personnel...”, the bench observed while stating the pleas made in the petition are irresponsible in nature attracting imposition of heavy cost on the petitioners.

Following these observations, the counsel for the petitioners sought permission to withdraw the petition, and the bench disposed of the petition giving liberty to the petitioner to give a representation to the government.

In another petition, filed by G. Venkatesh of Doddaballapur, it was contended that persons sent for institutional quarantine should be kept only in the self contained rooms, having attached bath and toilet facilities, in the educational institutions identified in Bengaluru Rural district. It was contended on behalf of the petitioner that use of rooms with common toilet facility could result in spread of COVID-19 as many persons are asymptomatic.

However, the bench noted that rooms in certain educational institutes in Doddaballapur were identified as preparedness for setting up quarantine facilities.

“Today, we cannot assume that the State government will not use self contained rooms in these places. We are sure that if the petitioner makes a representation to the government pointing out that as far as possible no common toilets be used, the State will consider and take appropriate action,” the bench observed while disposing of the petition.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 5:58:47 AM |

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