- Apprentice Lawyer
The Central Government has told the Delhi High Court that it has not issued any guidelines directing people to wear mask while travelling alone in a vehicle (Saurabh Sharma vs Sub-Divisional Magistrate, East & Ors).
In an affidavit filed by Department of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, the Centre maintained that public heath is a State subject by virtue of Entry 6 of List III of Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
Hence, public health and hospital is the primary and exclusive responsibility of the State government, it said.
Th affidavit was filed in a petition by an advocate seeking compensation of Rs 10 lakh after he was fined Rs. 500 for not wearing a mask while driving alone in his car
The Centre also said that under provisions of Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the State Executive Committee is empowered to implement the guidelines by Government of India, in its local context and epidemiology.
While the Government of India and the State governments have been working in collaboration to tackle COVID-19 pandemic, it does not include any direction from the Central government on mandatory wearing of masks when a person is alone in a vehicle, the affidavit stated.
Central government has accordingly prayed that it be removed from the list of parties in the petition.
Last year, the Aam Aadmi Party government had told the High Court that it was compulsory for a person to wear a mask even when he/she in alone in a personal vehicle.
Delhi government had said that a personal vehicle was not a private zone.
The petition was preferred by advocate Saurabh Sharma after he was fined Rs. 500 for not wearing a mask while driving alone in his car.
As per the Petitioner, the imposition of fine was unjust and illegal as he was alone in his personal, private vehicle.
The petition was filed through Advocate Joby P Varghese. Delhi Government was represented by Advocate Devesh Singh.
Advocate Farman Ali filed the affidavit for the Health Ministry.