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Punish those who don’t wear masks, Allahabad HC says Covid-19 not gone yet, asks police to ensure mandatory mask wearing

The division bench of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar passed this order while hearing a PIL filed by In-re Inhuman condition at quarantine centres and for providing better treatment to individuals tested positive for coronavirus.

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The Allahabad High Court on Monday said people in Uttar Pradesh have let their guards down and are lax in wearing masks with the reduction in the number of positive Covid-19 cases in the state. 

The division bench of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar passed this order while hearing a PIL filed by In-re inhuman conditions at quarantine centres and for providing better treatment to individuals tested positive for coronavirus.

“With the decrease in the number of cases countrywide and also with the decrease in the number of corona cases in the city of Prayagraj, we had put our guards down. In the recent past, it has been noticed that the population of the State of Uttar Pradesh as also the Administration, being guided by the fact that the number of cases were lessening, had reduced the strictness vis-a-vis the wearing of masks,”

-the Court observed. 

“From newspaper reports as also from the individuals present in our chamber, we have been informed that life was gradually coming back to normal and people were going back to work etc.

“It has also been informed that while normalcy was returning people were forgetting that they had to protect themselves from the deadly Covid-19 virus. It has also been informed that marriages and other social functions were taking place without observing any of the guidelines framed by the state government for Covid-19,”

-the Court said. 

Fearing that the virus might once again engulf the State of U.P., we once again reiterate our earlier directions:‐ 

(i) People to observe 100 percent masking and police to see that one and all wear masks. 

(ii) Non-wearing of masks should entail penalties as have been enumerated in the Pandemic Act and other relevant laws. 

(iii) Crowding should be stopped with immediate effect. 

(iv) The control of the number of guests in marriages and other social functions etc should be observed and any violation should be strictly punished. 

(v) Schools and colleges where small children go should not be asked to start physical classes. If, however, for any reason schools are physically functioning then all guidelines issued by the State Government should be followed in letter and spirit. 

(vi) Institutions where students above the 10th Class have to compulsorily attend classes, it should be seen that they observe social distancing and that they also wear masks. 

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(vii) Eateries should see that no food is served in the open, that is to say, people should take covered food in packets and should eat them at their home. 

(viii) Within the restaurants, tables should be laid in such a manner that social distancing is properly observed.

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