- Apprentice Lawyer
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the State government to consider using special logos on the masks of speech and hearing impaired people for easy recognition.
The Court was hearing a plea filed by Lokshahiwadi Balasaheb Sarode Smriti Prabodhan Upakram, through Advocates Ajinkya Udane and Asim Sarode, suggesting that the masks worn by the specially abled persons should have some sort of identification mark in the form of a sticker to enable easy identification.
Udane showed the Court a sample of stickers which could be placed on the masks of people with disabilities.
The Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni was also stated that masks could be distributed to people who did not have masks or could not afford them.
The Bench directed the State to consider providing masks to the homeless and beggars living on the streets.
"Why not conduct a drive and distribute masks for free to the people living on roads, homeless people under the bridge? Isn't it possible for you (State and local authorities) to distribute masks?" Justice Kulkarni enquired.
The Court went a step ahead and asked the State what its policy was for vaccinating people who do not have electronic devices to register themselves for vaccination.
This apart, the Court pointed out that it came across people violating lockdown strictures rampantly by not using masks and roaming around openly.
"Sometimes we see people not wearing masks, what is the government doing about it? There is not a single policeman to catch them. You must keep police personnel for vigil," the Court said.
CJ Datta added that he came across reports which stated that Malabar Hill (in Mumbai) has the highest rate of infection.
"Everyone comes out and they do not care for each others' lives," he exclaimed.
The Court opined that it was essential for better implementation of the suggestions in the plea that Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is also made a party to the petition. Accordingly, the lawyers were directed to take steps to implead BMC in the plea.
The matter will be next heard on May 6, 2021.
In the previous hearing, the High Court observed that the governments had failed to consider the needs of speech and hearing impaired persons while imposing the mandate of wearing masks.
The plea also raised an issue that there seemed to be no uniform policy for collection of fines throughout the State for not wearing masks as per COVID-19 protocol and that there should be an audit of such collection of fines.