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Among other prayers, the petitioner has urged the Court to direct the Government to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act to make the act more effective in preventing the outbreak of dangerous diseases.
A PIL has been filed before the Bombay High Court seeking that directions be to the Maharashtra government to take effective steps to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.
This plea was mentioned before the Bench of Acting Chief Justice BP Dharmadhikari and Justice Nitin R Borkar today by the petitioner's counsel for urgent hearing. The Court has agreed to hear the case on Monday, March 16.
Among other prayers, the PIL moved by an educationist and social worker, Sagar Shivajirao Jodhale urges the Court to direct the government to declare holidays for schools and colleges.
A direction from the High Court is also sought so that subordinate Courts and tribunals under its jurisdiction are directed to adjourn matters that are not of extreme urgency.
Further, the petitioner has prayed that the Court direct the government to ensure that Private corporates allow their employees to work remotely, as part of measures to avoid large assemblies of people in one space.
The petition cites news reports to highlight the severity of the pandemic and states,
"... from recent news it is evident that, the said virus has been spreading in India and affecting large number of population. If no proper precaution is taken very scrupulously in India, It will affect large number of population in the country. Considering the high density of population in India as well as limited resources for tackling the pandemic it is likely to spread across the Nation with a very high rate."
Other measures proposed by the petitioner to arrest viral transmission include the adoption of hi-tech mechanisms in airports and ports to detect persons affected by the virus, so that such persons can be isolated and treated.
Notably, Jodhale has also prayed for a direction to the State government to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 "by inviting suggestions from various organizations and experts so as to make the act more effective to prevent the outbreak of dangerous diseases".
Moreover, he has pressed for setting up an Epidemic Diseases Control Board for taking immediate steps to curb the spread of epidemic diseases.
Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 was invoked earlier this week in India by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to ease the issuance and implementation of health advisories to States and Union territories.
[Read the Petition]