The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) of the Government of India informed the Delhi High Court that it has not issued any guidelines with regards to the compulsion of wearing masks even while travelling alone in a vehicle.
The Union Government responded through an affidavit in an ongoing petition. The petition was filed by advocate Saurabh Sharma who challenged the Rs 500 challan issued to him because of not wearing a mask while driving alone in his private car.
The Ministry of Health and family welfare (MoHFW) prayed to delete its name from the list of arrays of parties because health is a state subject so this matter will ‘prima facie’ come under the Delhi government.
The contention of the Delhi government
The Delhi Government had earlier told the Delhi High court that ‘any person’ whether travelling in a personal vehicle or official vehicle must wear masks compulsorily. It stated through an affidavit that the instructions have been very clear from the beginning and the guidelines state that any person moving around in a personal or official vehicle must compulsorily wear masks.
The Delhi government argued that a personal vehicle does not fall under “private zone” as contended by the petitioner, because it falls under the category of all “Public places”.
What was the petition?
The court was hearing a case where the petitioner demanded a refund of the Rs 500 fine that was imposed on him and an additional 10 lakh for the harassment caused to him. According to the petitioner Saurabh Sharma, the Delhi govt imposed a fine of Rs 500 while he was travelling alone in his private vehicle on September 9th, 2020.
The petitioner states that as per the Delhi Epidemic Diseases (Management of Covid 19) which was issued under the epidemic diseases act, authorities can impose a fine of Rs 500 if the rules have been violated for the first time and Rs 1000 if the rules have been repeatedly violated by the person.
The Petitioner further argues that according to the Delhi disaster management act (DDMA) guidelines state that masks have to be worn only when a person is in public places or the place of work.
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