A Writ Petition was moved before the High Court of Delhi on the 17th of April 2020 by the Advocate MM Kashyap to seek directions to restrain the Government of Delhi and their administration from using terms like “Tablighi Jamat” or “Masjid Markaz” while classifying the COVID-19 cases as it leads to religious profiling and communal antagonism.
The petitioner argued that after the Tablighi event, the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, has time-and-again ‘deliberately’ classified several affected cases as “Masjid Markaz” via his tweets. The petitioner submitted that such classification of cases lead to hatred against specific religious communities and encourages communal antagonism.
It was further highlighted by the counsel that considering the already chaotic atmosphere in Delhi, post the riots in north-east parts of the city, such reporting of the COVID-19 cases only lead to increasing of tension between the religious communities. It was emphasised by the petitioner that during the present pandemic it is necessary that the nation unites and fight against Covid-19 together, and giving it the face communal hatred would lead to no good. It was stated by the petitioner that “… it was the need of the hour that the nation is united in the fight against coronavirus and giving communal angle to the cases would hamper the same”.
The petitioner submitted that the Chief Minister of Delhi has violated the advisory or guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation which has strictly advised to refrain from religious profiling of coronavirus cases.
The petition prayed to the High Court to issue directions to Arvind Kejriwal and the Delhi Government to prohibit and stop the classification of the Corona Virus cases on the religious or communal basis by using words like “Tablighi Jamat” or “Masjid Markaz”.
On the 20th of April 2020, the honourable High Court declined to entertain the plea as the Supreme Court was already dealing with a similar issue. It was stated by the court that “Considering that the Supreme Court is already seized of similar issues, the court is not inclined to entertain the present petition…The present petition is accordingly dismissed as withdrawn with liberty to avail remedies as may be available in accordance with law”.
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