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Detaining Persons Beyond Requisite Quarantine Period in Quarantine Centers Is Violative of Article 21: Allahabad HC [READ ORDER]

By Parth Thummar      02 June, 2020 08:35 PM      0 Comments
Detaining Persons Beyond Requisite Quarantine Period in Quarantine Centers Is Violative

The Allahabad High Court has on May 30, 2020, directed the State Government to ensure that the persons who have completed their quarantine period are released from Quarantine Centers, provided they have been tested negative and that there is no legal impediment in releasing them. Direction to this effect was passed by Division Bench of Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Saurabh Shyam Shamshery in the Public Interest Litigation after treating a letter written by Shaad Anwar, Advocate as PIL. In the letter, Mr. Shaad had sought the release of the members of Tablighi Jamat, who were quarantined after they returned to Uttar Pradesh after visiting Markaz Nizamuddin, Delhi in the morning on March 05, 2020. 

Mr. Shaad had furnished details of the 45 members of Tablighi Jamat, who were sent to Quarantine Centre at various places within the State of Uttar Pradesh. He had submitted that all the persons so quarantined had completed the period prescribed but the State was not releasing them without any just and valid reason. While alleging violation of the fundamental right of such quarantined persons as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner had stated that a direction was required to be issued to the State to release such persons forthwith.

On its May 29, 2020, order, the Court had asked the State to make available all details pertaining to the members of Tablighi Jamat, who were quarantined, released after completing the quarantine period or had yet not been released despite completing the tenure of quarantine and also give reasons for not releasing such persons.

On May 30, 2020, report filed pursuant to the Court direction, the State had stated that none of the members of the Tablighi Jamat, who were Indians, were under detention in the Quarantine Centers in the State of Uttar Pradesh as they all had already been released from the Quarantine Centers. They had returned to their respective States barring few members who had made their own private arrangements for their stay.

In this backdrop, the petitioner had further contended that few members (Indians) of Tablighi Jamat, were still in Quarantine Centres but the State had failed to provide details of such members. In this regard, the Court held that “Since the petitioner has failed to disclose the names of such members of Tablighi Jamat, who have not been released from the Quarantine Center, we find no reasons to disbelieve the statement made by the learned Additional Advocate General appearing on behalf of the State.” However, the Court made it clear that it would be open to the petitioner to ventilate its grievances in accordance with law before the appropriate forum in case he discovers later on that some members of Tablighi Jamat are still detained in the Quarantine Center despite completing the requisite period of quarantine. Regarding its Constitutional duty, the Court observed that,

“As a guardian of the Constitution, this Court has a duty to interfere whenever there is an abuse of power or usurpation of a right conferred by the Constitution. Persons, who have completed their quarantine period and have tested negative cannot be further detained in the Quarantine Centers against their wishes. It would be in violation of personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”

In this regard, the Court further directed the Chief Secretary, State of Uttar Pradesh to set up a three members committee in every district to ensure smoother, greater and more effective functioning of the Quarantine Centers. The Court made it clear that this Committee shall not only supervise the functioning but to see that the Quarantine Centers are properly maintained, controlled and administered and also provide help, assistance, guidance in the wake of difficulties and problems faced by the persons, who are quarantined and further ensure that the persons, who have completed quarantine period, are released forthwith provided they have tested negative after completing quarantine period and there is no legal impediment in releasing them.



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