The Delhi High Court on Wednesday (April 7) said the Delhi government was justified in making it mandatory for those traveling alone in cars to wear face masks. It said masks are like a “suraksha kavach” for preventing the COVID spread and that its use has saved millions of lives.
Upholding the Delhi government decision, the court said: “A vehicle even if occupied by one person would constitute a public place and wearing a mask therein would be compulsory”.
It said the wearing of a mask or a face cover in a vehicle, “which may be occupied by either a single person or multiple persons, is thus held to be compulsory,” Justice Prathiba M Singh said.
Justice Singh referred to scientists, researchers, international organizations and governments emphasizing wearing face masks to control the spread of Covid infection.
Four petitions were filed by lawyers last year challenging the imposition of Rs 500 fine on those not wearing face masks while travelling alone in a private car. The court on Wednesday said the lawyers, who had filed the petitions, should have a higher duty to show compliance.
The Delhi HC ruling came a day after Delhi Disaster Management Authority imposed a curfew between 10pm to 5 am, as the COVID cases in the national recorded 5,100 fresh infections on Tuesday (April 6). The Delhi tally is the highest in the past four months. The rise in cases has also led to a heavy rush of for beds in hospitals. Out of the 8120 COVID beds in the city, 3,558 are occupied.
“The challenge of the pandemic was enormous… and even with the introduction of a few vaccines, the emphasis continues to be on wearing face masks. A mask is like a ‘surksha kavach’ for preventing the spread of coronavirus,” said the court, adding wearing of masks has saved thousands of lives.
In another development, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday (April 7) that the government will henceforth collect data on those testing COVID positive even after getting vaccinated.
There have been reports of such instances in several parts of the country which is witnessing a major upsurge in COVID infections. India has recorded over 1.15 lakh new cases in the past 24 hours since the beginning of the pandemic in January last year.
The worst-hit state is Maharashtra, which reported over 55,000 COVID cases. In Mumbai, the civic body has set up a centralized system for allotting beds to avoid crowding at hospitals. Maharashtra is followed by Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu in terms of the caseload.
The sample reference form issued by the government will carry columns related to those who have already been vaccinated, the Ministry said.