The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday, May 28 2020, heard a Petitioner who filed a PIL. The PIL sought quashing of a Government order. It sought to prevent the disclosure of COVID-19 patients’ identities.
Observations of the Bench
The bench of J. Sanjay Yadav and Vishal Dhagwat heard the impugned order on May 19, 2020. The bench observed that the Central Govt. had issued an advisory and an order for the public interest. The bench explained that this was to, “To prevent chaos and protect COVID-19 patients from public wrath”.
The Court found the PIL filed by Nagrik Upbhokta contrary to the public interest. It said, “We do not find any merit in the PIL filed by the petitioner. The relief sought by the petitioner runs contrary to the public interest. It not being a PIL, we will dismiss the writ petition with the cost of Rs. 25,000/-.”
The State Health Commissioner, by order, put a restriction on all the officers of the State. He restrained them from producing any details of COVID-19 patients on social media.
After the remarks by the bench, the petitioner prayed to the Court to allow him to withdraw the petition. The Court dismissed the petition as withdrawn.
Similar decisions by Other High Courts
Earlier, the Madras HC had dismissed a similar petition. The petition sought to reveal the identities of patients of COVID-19. The petition also stated that there would be a social stigma and aspersions because of the same.
Orissa HC also ordered the State authorities to maintain the identities of these patients. They cannot reveal the same during interdepartmental communications or to the media. These steps acted as an interim measure.
In the previous month, the Madras High Court also dismissed a similar petition. The petition sought to reveal the identities of the COVID-19 affected persons. The petition also stated that there would be a social stigma and aspersions because of the same.
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