Give district-wise details of Jamaat attendees: Chhattisgarh HC to govt
The Chhattisgarh high court (HC) on Monday ordered the state government to file an affidavit furnishing district-wise data of the people who had attended the international congregation organised by Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin in Delhi held between March 13 and 15, and also of those came in contact with the attendees.
The Jamaat event --- held in violation of the Delhi government’s order against public gathering --- proved to be a superspreader of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in India with attendees fanning out across the country and infecting many others.
A two-member division bench of the HC, comprising Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and Goutam Bhaduri, directed the police and health department authorities to file the affidavit.
The HC also ordered the state government to carry on with its search for the Jamaat attendees and the people they might have come in contact with on their return to Chhattisgarh, as they could be the potential carriers of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Earlier on April 9, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel had announced during a press conference that 107 people from the state had attended the Jamaat event in Delhi.
The court also asked the state government to take necessary steps to open a medical facility at Bilaspur within three days to carry out Covid-19 tests.
In another separate case on Monday, the HC quashed the state government’s April 2 order, which sought to form a committee to take steps for initiating preparations to operate liquor shops from April 8 despite the ongoing nationwide lockdown, on technical grounds.
The lockdown has been enforced since March 25 and on Tuesday further extended till May 3 to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
The HC, however, allowed the state government to take a decision on the matter based on Tuesday’s fresh lockdown notification, which has been issued by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
A two-member division bench of the HC, comprising Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and Goutam Bhaduri, disposed of the state government’s order on technical grounds while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Mamata Sharma, a Raipur-based social worker.
The PIL objected to the state government’s April 2 order to form a panel to look into preparations to operate liquor shops in Chhattisgarh after April 7, despite the Central government’s nationwide lockdown restrictions were in place.
Sharma’s counsel Rohit Sharma argued that the Bhupesh Baghel-led government’s bid to open liquor stores in the state from April 8 was in violation of the Centre’s order, as the latter did not grant any relaxation during the lockdown period.
The state government’s counsel argued that the initial order of liquor ban was issued on March 31 and the prohibition was in place till April 7. The April 2 order was explicit that the liquor shops would open the after prohibition was lifted from April 8 onwards, he added.
The HC has urged the petitioner to move the court afresh.