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The Madras High Court on Wednesday appealed to the members of the general public who have travelled abroad in the recent times, their family members and friends to subject themselves voluntarily for testing and quarantining, as the same would enable the pandemic to be controlled in the interest of the public. The Court also appealed to the people to avoid going out or congregating and to maintain social distancing.

Acting on the writ petition filed by the India Awake for Transparency, through its director Mr. Rajender Kumar seeking directions to the Tamil Nadu Govt. to ensure 100% testing of all persons who were exempt from the lock down and were performing services involving public contact and to complete the same before the completion of the lock down and for this purpose build database of all such lock down exempt persons and further make plan for ensuring 100% testing of the same and direct Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Union Government to provide all necessary assistance to Tamil Nadu in this regard.

The case was heard by the division bench comprising of Justice N. Kirubakaran & Justice R. Hemalatha, where in the Justice Kirubakaran made openining remarks about the pandemic and penned down following lines in his judgement:-

“Pandemic has no religion;

It knows no region;

It won’t come on its own;

Unless there is an invitation;

Crowding can lead to its aggravation;

So maintain sanitation and reduce social interaction;

That will alone prevent transmission.”

The bench observed that the release of Disaster Risk Management Fund, the Home Ministry has released only 510 crores which in the opinion of the Court is not adequate, whereas, the States which have got lesser number of virus infected patients have been allotted more fund and thus asked the Central Government to consider the same.

The bench further observed that many persons have come from foreign countries since the end of February and they have not voluntarily subjected themselves for testing and quarantining. The pandemic spreads like a wild fire. It would not only affect the individual but also affect their family members, relatives, friends and even the whole of village or town. Therefore, the Court appealed to the persons who have travelled abroad in the recent times, their family members and friends to subject themselves voluntarily for testing and quarantining, as the same would enable the pandemic to be controlled in the interest of the public.

With regard to issue of migrant labourers the court said lakhs and lakhs of people are affected because of the lock down. The daily wagers, migrant workers and platform dwellers are without food and shelter. Though the Government is taking all efforts to provide food, it is reported in the media that in some places like Tirupur and Coimbatore, the migrant workers have staged a protest as they have not been given food and shelter and thus directed the authorities to verify the persons without food and shelter and provide them from community kitchens.

The Court also directed the Police Authorities to arrest as well as seize the two wheelers or the four wheelers which are used in violation of Section 144 order, if anybody comes out without reason beyond 1.00 P.M. Also, the police have to enquire/inform the employers of the violators (Government or Private employee) about the violation made by the person.

The Court has decided to hear the case after two weeks.

-India Legal Bureau

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