Air Conditioner, Delhi High Court
Air Conditioner, Delhi High Court
Litigation News

Prevent spread of COVID-19 through centrally air-conditioned facilities: Delhi HC issues notice in plea

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today issued notice in an application seeking directions to the authorities to ensure that no centrally air-conditioned facilities in the city, including the one in High Court, is put to use without adequate measures and precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Notice to the Centre, State Government and Registrar of the High Court was issued by a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar in the application preferred by Advocate KC Mittal.

The application has been preferred as part of the Court's suo moto writ petition concerning air pollution in the city.

In his application before Court, Mittal has submitted that although centrally air-conditioned buildings are seen as a sign of modern luxury, it has the tendency to inadvertently act as massive catalysts to further the spread of air/aerosol borne virus or other infections.

Stating that air-conditioning systems have no circulation of fresh air or exposure to sun, it is asserted that their usage will add to the unprecedented crisis of COVID-19 pandemic.

..a portion of the cough, sneeze or tear dispersal of an infected person would be in aerosol form. It is with this aerosol dispersal of infection, that the applicant is concerned, as the same can be picked, ingested and circulated by the central air-conditioning installed in the Delhi High Court..once aerosol infection enters the air ducts of the central air-conditioning system, the same could potentially infect, quite literally, dozens if not hundred of person present in the High Court. The aforesaid is not an ideal speculation of the applicant, but is borne out by certain studies including World Health Organization (WHO) and other institutes..
the Application reads.

Mittal has claimed that pursuant to the writ petition concerning air pollution level in the city, measures to install ultraviolet filters, ionizers and electrostatic filters were taken up by the High Court on the administrative side.

However, it is not known whether the requisite equipment, infact, were installed and whether, if installed, such measures are sufficient to deal with the present viral epidemic, the application states.

In view of the above, Mittal has prayed for directions to the Respondents to take all necessary steps and precautions to ensure that no centrally air conditioned buildings is put to use without adequate measures and precautions being taken to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Constitution of Committee of experts to examine the issue and suggest technical solutions such as implanting ultraviolet disinfectant units into the air circulation system of the air conditioning set up in the High Court, is also sought.

Central Government informed the Court that CPWD has issued Guidelines on April 22 on this aspect. The same has been asked to be placed before the Court.

Mittal was represented by Senior Advocate Meet Malhotra.

Standing Counsel Ajay Digpaul appeared for Centre.

The matter would be heard next on May 1.

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