People not wearing masks are violating rights of others: SC
The Supreme Court said on Thursday that those who chose to not wear masks in public places were violating the right to life of everyone else. All the states were asked by the top court to enforce coronavirus-linked precautions, like social distancing and covering mouths, thoroughly. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan underlined that people weren't showing the will to follow guidelines.
SC stayed order of Gujarat HC, called it "disproportionate"
While the apex court expressed sadness at the lax attitude adapted by people, it also stayed an order by the Gujarat High Court which underlined that those not donning masks in public will have to work at COVID-19 centers. The punishment to make violators perform non-medical duties was termed "disproportionate." Justices R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah were also part of the SC's bench.
Earlier, an HC bench asked state government to form guidelines
On Wednesday, a bench of Gujarat HC, including Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala, passed an unprecedented order, asking the state government to come up with a policy for those caught without face masks. Gujarat, which has logged 2,14,309 coronavirus cases and 4,031 deaths, was one of the states where the Centre rushed a team to tackle the coronavirus situation.
Government approached SC, dubbed HC's solution more "harmful than disease"
After the HC order, the state government approached the SC through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. He told the SC that the lower court's order will only expose the violators to greater risk. He admitted that people were not following guidelines but punishing them with community service was not the solution. "The cure is more harmful than the disease," Mehta told the SC bench.
SC noted no one seemed serious about Centre's SOPs
Justice Shah agreed with the arguments of Mehta. "The Centre comes out with SOPs and guidelines, but what about their implementation? People are gathering in marriage functions, roaming around in malls!" he commented. Mehta added, "This is perhaps in our culture, to be undisciplined." He also informed that there's a fine of Rs. 1,000 in Gujarat for not wearing masks.
SC clarified it wasn't encouraging people to ditch masks
While staying the order, the bench underscored that it must not be construed that the SC was encouraging people to not wear masks. Gujarat's Additional Secretary (Home) was asked to ensure that coronavirus-necessitated behavior was followed by residents. The SC also asked other state governments to submit their suggestions about limiting public gatherings, promoting social distancing, and wearing masks by Monday.Share this timeline