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Coronavirus | Don’t ostracise frontline workers, says Bombay HC

Court dismisses plea demanding heathcare staff to be kept in isolation

The Bombay High Court on Friday said frontline COVID-19 workers should be encouraged to discharge their duty without fear and not be ostracised for travelling to work daily.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Amjad Sayed was hearing a petition filed by Charan Bhatt, a Palghar district resident, demanding that such workers to be kept in isolation.

The petition sought temporary accommodation in Mumbai for essential service providers, who commute between Mumbai and Palghar district every day for work. Mr. Bhatt, in his plea filed through advocate Uday Warunjikar, claimed that frontline workers contracting the infection in Mumbai and travelling back to their homes in Vasai and Virar had become one of the primaryreasons for the spread of COVID-19 in Palghar district.

The situation is similar in areas such as Thane, Kalyan Dombivli and Navi Mumbai as well, the petition claimed.

The State government had opposed the plea saying the petitioner should be more sensitive towards the essential workers who are combating the pandemic.

While dismissing the petition, the HC noted that a sense of fear drove the petitioner to approach the court, but narrow personal interest must yield to the greater public interest that is involved.

“The essential staffers, having an onerous responsibility of discharging most important public duties, are perceived by the petitioners as carriers of infection who could easily spread it among others,” the court said.

We are also inclined to the view that even if some of such staffers might have unfortunately been infected by COVID-19, that is no ground to sort of ostracise them, the Bench said.

It added that authorities have been engaged in formulating policies to tackle the pandemic and these essential staffers have been tirelessly working to implement the measures of the overall benefit of mankind.

‘Need humane approach’

“It is a humane approach which is the call of the moment. The essential staffers, instead of being put to any disability because of their nature of work and also instead of being forced to reside in a place away from their houses, should be encouraged to discharge their duty without fear of duress and restraint,” the High Court said.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 10:19:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/coronavirus-dont-ostracise-frontline-workers-says-bombay-hc/article31824916.ece

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