A bench, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising Justices R. Subhas Reddy and M.R. Shah, said: “The state governments and Union Territories can resort to the above exercise only when any direction is issued by the competent authority under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. The writ petition is disposed of accordingly.”
The bench noted that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has categorically cleared the stand of the Union of India insofar as pasting of posters outside the residences of Covid-19 positive persons.
“It is stated that neither any such direction has been issued by the Government of India nor it is obligatory to any state or Union Territory to paste the posters outside the residences of Covid-19 positive persons,” it said.
The top court noted that the guidelines dated July 2, issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and brought on record on the Centre’s affidavit dated November 30, do not contain any guidelines regarding pasting of posters outside the residences of Covid-19 positive persons.
Mehta submitted the Department of Family Welfare had issued a letter on November 19 to Additional Chief Secretaries/Principal Secretaries/Secretaries, Health, of all states and UTs that the Centre’s guidelines do not contain any instruction or guidance regarding affixing posters or other signage outside the residences of those found Covid-19 positive.
The top court order came on a plea filed by Kush Kalra, a Delhi resident, through advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma. The plea had said the decision and action of affixing posters outside residences of Covid-19 positive persons and disclosure of such names violate Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
“Affixing posters outside residences of Covid-19 positive persons amounts to unprecedented violation of the right to privacy which is a Fundamental Right guaranteed under Article 21 of Constitution”, said the PIL. Petitioner has submitted that affixing posters is a primitive practice which was carried out in 18th century to deal with plague.