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SC: Corona notices make patients ‘untouchables’ for others

Even as the Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that Covid-19 notices pasted outside residences of patients lead to their considerations as “untouchables” by others, the Centre washed its hands off the matter by saying states may have decided to do so.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising Justices RS Reddy and MR Shah said that the ground reality is such that once such notices are pasted outside Covid-19 patients’ houses, others began to treat them as untouchables.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted that the Union government has not given any directions to paste Covid warning notices outside infected persons’ houses. “The states may have decided to do it,” Mehta said.

He contended that this may have been done to warn strangers to the areas concerned about Covid-19 patients and not to interact with him or her without adequate protection.

The top court was hearing a plea against the decision of state governments and Union Territories to affix posters/notices outside residences of Covid-19 patients, who are required to stay in home isolation.

The plea filed by Delhi resident Kush Kalra through advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma said that such action to disclose the names of coronavirus patients through the notices was violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

“Affixing notices/posters outside residences of Covid-19 positive persons tantamount to unprecedented violation of the right to privacy which is a Fundamental Right guaranteed under Article 21 of Constitution,” the PIL said. The petitioner said that affixing posters is a primitive practice used in the 18th century to deal with the plague outbreaks.

The top court deferred the hearing for Thursday to enable the petitioner to respond to a detailed affidavit filed by the Centre.

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