The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stated that a person kept in quarantine by authorities due to Covid-19 pandemic cannot be said to be in illegal confinement/detention.
Js. Lalit Batra dismissed Habeas Corpus petition filed for release of two residents of Assam and Bihar who had been quarantined by authorities, in Haryana as not maintainable.
It held, “Quarantining Petitioners for the time being cannot be termed to be illegal confinement/detention at any stretch of imagination and as such instant petition is not maintainable.”
Petitioners were apprehended by Haryana Police from a Mosque in Palwal District along with Bangladeshi Nationals belonging to Tablighi Jamaat.
They were booked by Haryana Police under provisions of IPC, Foreigners Act, Disaster Management Act and Epidemic Diseases Act.
Petitioners moved in High Court in Habeas Corpus Petition stating that since they had been granted bail, their confinement is illegal.
Primary argument of petitioner was that they were Covid negative and were entitled to be released.
As the State Counsel informed that Petitioners had been quarantined after obtaining opinion of medical authorities, Court declined to interfere in the matter and held, “after having sought report from Medical Authorities and especially the fact that petitioners are residents of States of Assam and Bihar, the fact that due to impact of Covid-19, entire country is under lockdown and there is no transport facility and further the fact that Quarantine Centre “Mewat Model School, Hathin” is one of the hotspots (Red Zone), therefore, in view of safety and health aspects of petitioners and to avoid spread of Covid-19 impact, lodging of petitioners for the time being in Quarantine Centre cannot be said to be illegal confinement/ detention.”
Bench also stated that lodging of people in quarantine homes for their safety cannot be illegal.
It remarked, “The main object of above said venture at the instance of Government of India as well as State Governments is to protect the life of each and every persons living in this Country from the impact of Covid-19.”
It was also added, “Basic steps initiated by the Government of India and State Governments to curb the impact of Covid-19 are meant for service to the humanity and as such petitioners though released on bail in case FIR No.95 dated 02.04.2020, as detailed above, being residents of outer States (Assam and Bihar) have been rightly kept in Quarantine Centre “Mewat Model School, Hathin” during nationwide lockdown with facilities of boarding, lodging and medical and that too at the expense of State Exchequer.”
-India Legal Bureau