The Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea against the decision of state governments and the Union Territories to affix posters of patients who are expected to live in home isolation outside their residences.
The complaint lodged by Kush Kalra, a resident of Delhi, through lawyer Chinmoy Pradip Sharma, alleged that the decision and action to affix posters outside the residences of positive persons of Covid-19 and the publication of such names violated Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. The PIL said, "Affixing posters outside residences of Covid-19 positive persons amounts to an unprecedented violation of the right to privacy which is a Fundamental Right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution".
The plea has claimed that Covid-19 hopeful individuals who are already fighting extreme physical disease and the resulting emotional distress are subject to stigmatization because of this custom of affixing posters outside their homes, arguing that affixing posters is a primitive practice that was carried out in the 18th century to deal with the plague. It further claimed, "Affixing posters outside their homes leads to their illness is being widely publicized amongst other residents of a colony or apartment complex as well as household staff of neighbors, vendors, passers-by and other unrelated persons". On Thursday, after a brief hearing in the matter, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah agreed to hear the petition on November 5. "Let the petitioner serve a copy of this petition to the office of the Solicitor General," it said. The petitioner urged the top court to issue guidelines quashing the decision taken to affix posters outside Covid-19 patients' residences. In any WhatsApp group belonging to citizen welfare associations or community welfare organizations, the top court was also asked to provide direction to immediately stop the circulation of names of Covid-19 positive individuals. The plea argues that there is no consideration in the sense of proportionality in the decision and action to affix posters because the action goes beyond the scope of the steps needed to curb and monitor the spread of Covid-19. The plea also added, "It is highly important to remember that the affixing of posters does not curb or regulate such dissemination in any way. There is also no excuse or basis for such practice".