Delhi-Gurugram border
A commuter crosses the Delhi-Gurugram border during the ongoing lockdown | PTI File

Those involved in essential services can ply between Delhi, Haryana

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The Haryana government on Thursday (May 15) said trucks and those involved in essential services will be permitted to travel between Delhi and Haryana during the COVID-19 lockdown.

This government assured in an undertaking in the Delhi high court that those engaged in essential services, including government and private doctors, nurses, officials of police, courts and municipal bodies, will be allowed to ply between the two states during the lockdown on producing e-passes, which shall be issued within 30 minutes of receipt of application.

It further assured the high court that movement of trucks carrying essential and non-essential goods between Delhi and Haryana as well as transiting through the neighbouring state shall be allowed.

A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula, which conducted the high hearing through video conferencing, noted that in view of the undertaking given by the counsel for the Haryana government, the petitioner does not wish to press the Public Interest litigation (PIL) and the court disposed of the petition.

The court was hearing a PIL by petitioner O P Gupta, through advocate Nitin Garg, seeking direction to the Centre to take action against the Haryana government for adopting a restrictive policy and not allowing the movement of people involved in essential services like doctors, nurses, paramedics, sanitation workers, staff of Delhi Police, Delhi Transport Corporation, Delhi Jal Board, Municipal Corporations and courts between Delhi and Haryana.

The plea sought direction to the neighbouring state government not to restrict the movement of trucks to and fro between Delhi and Haryana.

The high court was given an undertaking by Additional Advocate General of Government of Haryana Anil Grover that free movement of trucks carrying both the essential as well as non-essential goods between Delhi and Haryana (except to and fro between Containment Zones) as well as transiting through Haryana shall be allowed.

The counsel said the Delhi-Haryana border is open and the roads near the border have not been dug up and the border shall be kept open and manned by security personnel.

“Movement of people who man essential services as mentioned in notifications/orders/letters issued by Union of India including but not limited to government as well as private doctors, nurses, paramedics, sanitation workers, staff of Delhi Police, Delhi Transport Corporation, Delhi Jal Board, Municipal Corporations, High Courts, trial courts etc. shall be allowed between Delhi and Haryana on production of e-passes and they shall not be quarantined unless and until they test positive for COVID-19 or have been found in contact with COVID-19 patient,” the counsel undertook.

The Haryana government said e-passes shall be issued to all the individuals, involved in essential services, within 30 minutes of receipt of the applications and each e-pass will be valid for the entire duration of the lockdown and could be used for multiple visits.

The bench took on record the undertakings and said the Haryana government is held bound by the same and in case of breach of the statements, the petitioner will be at liberty to initiate appropriate legal proceedings against the officials of the state government.

The high court, in its order, also recorded its appreciation for the services rendered by the petitioner, advocates and the officials for their assistance as without their cooperation it would not have been possible to dispose of the present contentious matter within a short period during the lockdown.

The court had earlier pulled up the Haryana government for not disclosing all the notifications putting restrictions on the movement of people, including doctors and nurses, to and from the national capital to various districts in Haryana during the lockdown.

The high court had said prima facie the screening and stopping of individuals involved in essential services at the Delhi-Haryana border by the State of Haryana is contrary to the letters issued by the Union of India to all the Chief Secretaries of the States.

In its letters, the Centre has asked all the State and union territories governments to ensure that their field officials allow smooth movement of all medical professionals, nurses, para medical, sanitation personnel and ambulances. The Centre also asked them to ensure the opening of all private clinics, nursing homes and labs with all their medical professionals and staff and such movement shall also be facilitated inter-State, wherever required.

(With inputs from agencies)

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