Disclose identity of Covid-19 patients for safety of others: PIL urges HCUpdated: Jul 09, 2020 20:46 IST
Mumbai: A student of the Government Law College at Mumbai and a farmer from Maharashtra’s Solapur district have jointly moved the Bombay high court (HC) seeking a direction to the state authorities to disclose identities of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients because of the safety of “others, who may have come in their contact, and can take appropriate precautionary steps to protect themselves from the contagion”.
Law student Vaishnavi Gholave and farmer Mahesh Gadekar filed the public interest litigation (PIL) through advocate Vinod Sangvikar.
The plea contended that on several occasions Covid-19 patients are unable to recognise and give complete information about the people, who had come in their contact, because of which contact tracing becomes an arduous task and many suspect cases fall through the crack.
The petitioners have cited the example of a meat seller from Muraji Peth in Solapur, who was found to be Covid-19 positive, and later it came to be known that about 1,000 people had unwittingly come in contact with him.
“However, the infected meat-seller didn’t know all his customers’ names or their whereabouts,” it said.
The plea stated that since there are about 25 meat-sellers in Muraji Peth and the name of the infected meat-seller was not disclosed, people did not know whether they had exposed themselves to SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease, and as a result, if they needed to take precautionary measures, triggering all-round panic and confusion.
The plea expressed serious concerns about the growing risk of community transmission and argued that it is necessary to disclose the names of Covid-19 patients in a bid to make contact tracing easier and also appropriate precautionary measures can be taken such as self-isolation.
The PIL cited that Maharashtra has been reporting a surge in Covid-19 positive cases even though the state government is still maintaining that community transmission has not occurred yet.
It also questioned the policy of keeping the identity of Covid-19 patients under wraps while expressing fear that such unwarranted lack of voluntary disclosure might deepen the healthcare crisis, as the community transmission in the state appears to be a distinct reality soon.
The PIL it is likely to come up for hearing on Friday.