As the day-to-day life is returning to normalcy, now even more so with the formulation of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is being widely observed that people have gotten lenient with taking precautions for the pandemic.
The same was observed by the Allahabad High Court on Monday (March 1, 2021) in a suo moto
PIL which was registered by the HC itself, in May, 2020. The title of the PIL being, “In-Re Inhuman Condition At Quarantine Centres…,” the court went on to emphasise the significance of not letting our guards down yet and continue to take all the precautions as were recommended during the inception of this virus. Further, it was stated that a failure on the part of the citizens to do the same could attract punishments under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 along with the Disaster Management Act, 2005. The following was observed by the Division Bench comprising Justices Ajit Kumar and Siddhartha Varma:
"With the decrease in the number of cases country-wide and also with the decrease in number of corona cases in the city of Prayagraj, we had put our guards down. In the recent past, it has been noticed that the population of State of Uttar Pradesh as also the Administration, being guided by the fact that the number of cases were lessening, had reduced the strictness visa-vis the wearing of masks. We have been informed that life was gradually coming back to normal and people were going back to work etc. It has also been informed that while normalcy was returning people were forgetting that they had to protect themselves from the deadly Covid-19 virus. It has also been informed that marriages and other social functions were taking place without observing any of the guidelines framed by the State Government for Covid-19."
In order to remind people about the prevailing situation, the Allahabad High Court went on to iterate the following directions:
- Everyone is supposed to wear a mask during all times. The police must ensure the same.
This was conveyed in strong words by the HC, “if the action is not taken today, we won’t be able to face our progenies.”
- Failure to wear mask would attract punishments and penalties under the relevant laws such as the Pandemic Act.
- Immediately, crowding must be stopped.
- The cap on the number of guests in marriages and social functions is supposed to be kept a check on. The violation of the same should be strictly punishable.
- Schools and educational institutions entertaining young children should not restart the physical classes. In case it is absolutely necessary to do so, then it should be done taking complete precautions as directed by the State government.
- For the students above class 10th, who have to attend the school compulsorily must observe social distancing along with wearing masks.
- Food should not be served by the eateries or restaurants in the open. People should order a take-away and eat it at home.
- Even within the restaurants, social distancing must be observed with respect to laying of the tables.
Henceforth, the court ordered the laid down guidelines to be followed in the strictest sense for the common collective good.