[Farmers Protests] Are COVID 19 guidelines being followed? Supreme Court asks Centre

"You must tell us what is happening? I don't know if farmers are protected from COVID," CJI Bobde told Central government.
[Farmers Protests] Are COVID 19 guidelines being followed? Supreme Court asks Centre
Farmer protest IANS

A Supreme Court Bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said on Thursday that there could be COVID-19 breakout at the farmers protest sites near Delhi borders and asked the Central government to apprise the Court of the steps being taken to ensure that Ministry of Health guidelines are followed at the protest site.

The Bench which also comprised Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian was hearing a plea filed by a Jammu-based lawyer Supriya Pandita, questioning the role of the Centre, the Delhi government and the Delhi Police for risking the health of millions of citizens by allowing the huge congregation comprising foreign delegates.

"You must tell us what is happening? I don't know if farmers are protected from COVID. Same problem may arise in the farmers protest too. We are trying to ensure that COVID does not spread. Ensure guidelines issued are followed," the CJI said.

The Court issued notice to the Centre on the plea with an additional direction to apprise them about steps being taken to stop COVID spread at farmers protest sites.

The Court had earlier issued notice to the Delhi government and Delhi police but not Central government.

The petitioner, Supriya Pandita has alleged that the Delhi police failed to arrest Nizamuddin Markaz chief Maulana Saad who organized the religious event resulting in a surge in the spread of coronavirus across the country.

“Ignoring all social distancing norms to avoid the deadly coronavirus, hundreds had been staying in the 100-year-old mosque since March 8. More than 2,000 delegates from Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan attended the congregation of Tablighi Jamaat,” Pandita claimed.

The Nizamuddin area in Delhi was sealed on March 30, after it came to light that several people, who had attended a religious event held in March at Nizamuddin by a Muslim organisation called Tablighi Jamaat, were found to be infected with Coronavirus. At least 16,500 people had visited Tablighi Jamaat’s headquarters in Nizamuddin between March 13 and 24.

When Advocate Om Prakash Parihar, representing the petitioner, insisted on Thursday that the whereabouts of Maulana Saad should also be looked at, CJI Bobde cut him short and stated that the Court was more inclined to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the Central government would submit a reply detailing the steps taken by it to ensure Covid spread does not take place. He further assured the court that some headway would be made with the protesters.

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