The Bombay High Court has upheld the Government Order laying down certain restrictions on citizens traveling to Konkan region for Ganesh Festival-2020. The Court has held that the order dated 07.08.2020, does not infringe on any fundamental rights of the citizens and have been issued to ensure that the citizens do not face difficulties in visiting their native places in Konkan region.
A division Bench of Justices K.K. Tated and Milind N. Jadhav has observed that the directives were issued in order to contain the spread of Covid-19 disease and were therefore reasonable and in accordance with the various Government Orders and circulars.
A petition was filed challenging Government Resolution issued by the Director of Disaster Management, Government of Maharashtra on grounds that it was unconstitutional and interfered with the fundamental rights of the petitioner, curbing their freedom to travel to Ratnagiri District in Konkan region to celebrate Ganesh Festival – 2020.
According to the notification, citizen going to Konkan for Ganesh Festival upto 12th August 2020 by S.T. buses of Maharashtra State Transport Corporation or by other private vehicles, were to be in home quarantined for 10 days, and those who go to Konkan after 12th August 2020 would be allowed to travel only after they test negative for Covid-19.
According to the petitioners, the restriction of quarantine being propagated as a measure to control the spread of Covid-19 virus is unnecessary and worst as it infringes upon the fundamental right of the petitioner guaranteed under the Constitution.
The Court found it surprising that the petitioner did not refer to any Government order issued earlier by the State regarding restrictions and quarantine in order to contain the spread of Covid-19 disease.
This in itself calls for dismissing the petition at the outset when the Government of India had initiated several preventive steps by invoking The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and had announced a National lockdown .
The Court observed that in order to contain the spread of Covid-19 social distancing is one of the most significant factor which is required to be followed by each and every citizen and quarantine is significant as well as it is directly related to bringing down the number of Covid-19 cases. If a citizen travels from one place to another i.e. to a different region or district, then effective steps need to be taken to contain the spread of the virus
According to the Court, the Government’s order needs to be appreciated as it was issued to ensure that effective steps were taken to contain the spread of Covid- 19, especially where transportation of citizens from one region to another is concerned.
Read the Order here;O18082020319
-India Legal Bureau