A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) collects a swab sample from a woman, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi.(REUTERS)
A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) collects a swab sample from a woman, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi.(REUTERS)

Stop pasting posters outside Covid patients’ homes: Petition in Delhi HC

The plea had sought other reliefs as well, including enhancing testing capacity in the city, using indigenously developed kits, reformulating the ICMR advisory on testing and validation of rapid antigen test kits.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Richa Banka
UPDATED ON OCT 01, 2020 07:35 AM IST

The Delhi high court Wednesday sought Delhi government’s response on a plea seeking the formulation of guidelines to do away with the practice of pasting posters outside the homes of Covid-19 positive persons or those put under home isolation. The plea had also sought steps to ensure that names of Covid-19 patients are not revealed, especially to residents’ welfare associations or on WhatsApp groups.

A bench of justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad issued a notice to the Delhi government and sought its stand, only on this limited issue, after a plea was filed by advocate Kush Kalra on September 28, contending that pasting posters outside the homes of positive persons was a serious infringement of the fundamental right to privacy, as laid down by the Supreme Court and the Constitution.

The plea had sought other reliefs as well, including enhancing testing capacity in the city, using indigenously developed kits, reformulating the Indian Council of Medical Research advisory on testing and validation of rapid antigen test kits.

However, the court said it was already examining all these aspects in another plea and hence “there was no sense in duplication” and limited the scope of the present plea. The bench also said the relief sought in terms of availing of the testing capacity of a neighbouring state cannot be allowed as, earlier, such practices were leading to a delay in getting the results.

In his plea, Kalra, also contended that freely circulating to RWAs and on WhatsApp groups the names of persons who tested Covid-19 positive was “leading to stigmatisation and drawing of unnecessary attention”. He said the positive persons “ought to be given privacy to cope with and recover from the illness in peace, away from prying eyes”.

His plea also claimed that this has resulted in “people shying away and deliberately choosing not to test themselves” to avoid the “public embarrassment and stigmatization” which is also caused by pasting posters outside the homes of Covid-19 patients.

“It is because of these sound reasons that Punjab has rescinded its earlier decision of paste posters outside the home of Covid-19 patients under home isolation or quarantine,” the plea read.

The matter would be now heard on October 7.

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