A health worker wearing protective gear prepares to collects swab samples for Covid-19 test at Baila Gaon Jhuggi Basti in New Delhi on Tuesday.(PTI Photo)
A health worker wearing protective gear prepares to collects swab samples for Covid-19 test at Baila Gaon Jhuggi Basti in New Delhi on Tuesday.(PTI Photo)

Covid-19 doesn’t differentiate between rich, poor: Supreme Court

When the issue of wearing masks cropped up, justice MR Shah, also a part of the bench, referred to the statistics submitted in the court by the Gujarat government to express his surprise over more than Rs10 crore having been collected in fines only on account of people not wearing masks.
By Utkarsh Anand | Hindustan Times, New Delhi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 16, 2020 12:21 AM IST

The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) does not differentiate between the rich and the poor, asserted the Supreme Court on Tuesday as it rued that arguments were being made about how poor people will not be able to pay steeper fines instead of making certain that everyone wears a mask to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

The Supreme Court bench, headed by justice Ashok Bhushan, was hearing a suo motu (after taking note on its own) matter relating to various measures being taken by the Centre and states to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

When the issue of wearing masks cropped up, justice MR Shah, also a part of the bench, referred to the statistics submitted in the court by the Gujarat government to express his surprise over more than Rs10 crore having been collected in fines only on account of people not wearing masks.

“Is it not shocking that more than Rs10 crore is collected only on account of not wearing masks? And this can only be a tip of the iceberg. There could be many more,” said justice Shah.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre and Gujarat government in the matter, replied that the fine amount has now swollen to about Rs19 crore.

At this, justice RS Reddy, another member of the bench, said: “There are reports coming that the rate of infection is going down in the entire country. And look what people are doing. They started celebrating marriages in large gatherings.”

Mehta, on his part, submitted that steeper fines for not wearing mask could be an effective deterrent but the bench replied: “We cannot direct states how much the fine should be. It is for the states to take a call.”

Joining the discussion, advocate Vishal Awtani, who had filed an application in the matter, told the bench that the poor will not be able to pay higher fines, and hence the suggestion by the S-G to increase the fine may not be the appropriate solution.

But this argument did not go down well with the bench, which emphasised that everyone has been given masks free of cost by all the governments.

“Why are poor not wearing masks given to them free of charge? Poor or rich, everyone has to follow the law. This virus does not differentiate between rich and poor,” the bench said.

The court added that had people been finding it too difficult to pay fines, the collection only in one state (Gujarat) could not come to be around Rs18-19 crore, while underscoring that everyone must be encouraged to wear masks, follow social distancing, and abide with other safety regulations.

Consider giving break to residents, interns

During the hearing, the bench also asked the SG to look into the reports that resident doctors and interns were getting breaks from work despite being on duty for months.

“Mr Mehta, you should look into this as well. You may have shortage of doctors, but that doesn’t mean these resident doctors and interns, who are students, will not be given break for months together. Some of them have not had a gap for the last eight months,” the bench told the SG.

The court expressed fear that such prolonged duties could affect their mental health.

“They are mentally broken. They have been working for eight months without break. They also need some rest. Consider giving them break after a month of work. What will happen if the doctors in the making are mentally broken at this age?” it asked Mehta, who assured the bench that the government would examine the issue.

The bench also said that it will pass a detailed order later this week on fire safety norms in hospitals. Earlier, the bench has taken a suo motu cognisance of the fire tragedy at a Covid hospital in Rajkot, where five lives were lost. It had sought reports on fire safety from all states and Union territories.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
The latest notification follows a three-week-old draft order that let citizens link their drivers license and vehicle registration certificate with their Aadhar number.(Yogesh Kumar/Hindustan Times)
The latest notification follows a three-week-old draft order that let citizens link their drivers license and vehicle registration certificate with their Aadhar number.(Yogesh Kumar/Hindustan Times)

Govt rolls out Aadhaar-based driver license services, puts an end to RTO visits

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Ayshee Bhaduri, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 06:49 PM IST
  • A total of 18 services will be covered. The ministry said the new system will “simplify the government delivery processes and bring in transparency and efficiency”
Close
A medical worker administers Covid-19 vaccine doses to Jammu and Kashmir police personnel, at the Police Control Room (PCR) in Srinagar.(PTI)
A medical worker administers Covid-19 vaccine doses to Jammu and Kashmir police personnel, at the Police Control Room (PCR) in Srinagar.(PTI)

1 Covid-19 death, 79 fresh cases in Jammu and Kashmir

PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 06:42 PM IST
  • There are now 883 active Covid-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir.
Close
Seventy-five-year-old Misra was given Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. He said it was very reassuring for him to see Modi taking the vaccine on March 1 when the drive to vaccinate those above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities started.
Seventy-five-year-old Misra was given Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. He said it was very reassuring for him to see Modi taking the vaccine on March 1 when the drive to vaccinate those above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities started.

Covid-19 vaccination: 'Controlled and methodical' mechanism says Nripendra Misra

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 06:33 PM IST
The former principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was happy to see that despite the rush, those arriving for vaccination did not run any risk of infection as they came in little contact with people.
Close
Trade unions have announced statewide band in Andhra Pradesh on March 5(HT photo)
Trade unions have announced statewide band in Andhra Pradesh on March 5(HT photo)

Support gathers for Andhra Pradesh bandh tomorrow

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Mallika Soni
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 06:30 PM IST
  • Chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy-led ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) has criticised the Centre’s step of privatising the steel plant.
Close
The Supreme Court. (HT archive)
The Supreme Court. (HT archive)

'Discriminatory': Goa in Supreme Court on mining leases renewal cancellation

By Gerard de Souza, Hindustan Times, Panaji
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 06:27 PM IST
The mining Industry has been one of the major sources of revenue generation for the state and also a source of employment generation, the Goa government said.
Close
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan receives the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine during the second phase of vaccination, in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan receives the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine during the second phase of vaccination, in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

Kerala records 2,616 new cases of Covid-19; active cases reach 44,441

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 06:26 PM IST
The Covid-19 spread in Kerala is a matter of concern for the government as the southern state is going to hold assembly election next month along with three other states and a union territory.
Close
This year's fair is setting a new precedent giving transgender seers an opportunity to take part in Kumbh rituals. (HT Photo)
This year's fair is setting a new precedent giving transgender seers an opportunity to take part in Kumbh rituals. (HT Photo)

Transgender seers participate in mahakumbh at Haridwar for first time

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Haridwar
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 06:20 PM IST
A large number of Kinnar Akhada seers are arriving in Haridwar these days amid grand reception.
Close
A medic administers the first dose of Covaxin vaccine to a frontline worker, during an Covid-19 inoculation drive, at Sanjeevan Hospital in New Delhi. (PTI File Photo)
A medic administers the first dose of Covaxin vaccine to a frontline worker, during an Covid-19 inoculation drive, at Sanjeevan Hospital in New Delhi. (PTI File Photo)

'Not utilising fully': HC asks Centre to explain control on who gets Covid jab

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 06:13 PM IST
The high court said the two institutes which have developed the vaccines Covishield and Covaxin -- Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech -- have more capacity to provide the vaccines
Close
Jaishankar's visit to Bangladesh follows on the PM-level Virtual Summit in December last year and will also provide an opportunity to take stock of the progress in bilateral relations, the Ministry of External Affairs said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Jaishankar's visit to Bangladesh follows on the PM-level Virtual Summit in December last year and will also provide an opportunity to take stock of the progress in bilateral relations, the Ministry of External Affairs said in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Neighbourhood First : Jaishankar to boost bilateral relations with Bangladesh

PTI, Dhaka
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 05:50 PM IST
Momen and Jaishankar led their respective sides at a bilateral meeting held at a state guesthouse and took stock of the progress of relations between the two countries.
Close
Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar. The decision to retrieve all land dealing under the Roshni Act was taken three weeks after the high court declared it unconstitutional and unsustainable.(PTI file photo)
Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar. The decision to retrieve all land dealing under the Roshni Act was taken three weeks after the high court declared it unconstitutional and unsustainable.(PTI file photo)

Ease of Living Index 2020: Srinagar at bottom of list of 49 cities

By Mir Ehsan
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 05:48 PM IST
  • While Bangalore has been ranked top among 49 cities with population of more than a million, Bareilly, Dhanbad and Srinagar are ranked as the bottom three.
Close
CPI leader Sitaram Yechury addresses media on the occasion of fifty years celebration of the party's newspaper 'Ganashakti' in Kolkata on Sunday. (ANI Photo)
CPI leader Sitaram Yechury addresses media on the occasion of fifty years celebration of the party's newspaper 'Ganashakti' in Kolkata on Sunday. (ANI Photo)

CPI(M) to seek rescheduling of parliament budget session due to assembly polls

PTI, Coimbatore
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 05:38 PM IST
Since majority of the states such as Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and Assam have more opposition MPs, they may find it difficult to campaign in these states, where polls are scheduled to held from March 27 to April 6.
Close
Security personnel check for bombs in the premises of the historic Taj Mahal, in Agra, Thursday, March 4, 2021. (PTI Photo )
Security personnel check for bombs in the premises of the historic Taj Mahal, in Agra, Thursday, March 4, 2021. (PTI Photo )

Man detained for Taj Mahal hoax bomb call, may have mental health illness: Cop

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2021 06:13 PM IST
After the threat call to 112 emergency response number of the Uttar Pradesh police at around 9am, nearly 1000 tourists were evacuated from the Taj Mahal.
Close
Senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily.(HT file photo)
Senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily.(HT file photo)

News updates from HT: Congress says TN seat sharing talks 'not yet a stalemate'

PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 05:00 PM IST
Here are today’s top news, analysis and opinion. Know all about the latest news and other news updates from Hindustan Times.
Close
"The Ministry and industry will partner together to make the OTT experience better for all audience,” Javadekar wrote on Twitter.(PTI file photo)
"The Ministry and industry will partner together to make the OTT experience better for all audience,” Javadekar wrote on Twitter.(PTI file photo)

OTT industry representatives welcome new guidelines, says Javadekar

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Harshit Sabarwal, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2021 06:05 PM IST
The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry issued the guidelines last week to monitor content on social media and OTT platforms—under which they would be required to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours and further set up a grievance redressal mechanism.
Close
Image Credit: ANI
Image Credit: ANI

Meerut firing: Police identify 1 accused; girl, hit by gunshot, stable

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Karan Manral, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 04:54 PM IST
A group of persons had opened fire in Meerut’s Brahmpuri area on Wednesday evening. The injured girl was passing by when she got hit.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP