Taking suo moto cognizance of the religious congregation of about 2,000 people at a mosque in Delhi's Nizamuddin area which has engendered several Corona positive cases, the Gujarat High Court has sought a detailed report from both the Centre as well as the state government, regarding the steps taken by them for identification and isolation of such people.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ashutosh J. Shastri noted that at least 200 of such people who attended the congregation have entered Gujarat and thus there is a serious health risk in the state. Given the urgency of the matter, the High Court decided to prepone hearing in a suo motu case registered by it to deal with the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.
After convening the urgent hearing today, the High Court has directed the Union of India and the government of state of Gujarat to work in coordination so as to identify and root out such infected persons from public domain. They have also been asked to file action taken reports by April 3. The court ordered,
"The Union of India in its report will provide complete information to the State of Gujarat and to the Court in a sealed cover available with them of all those persons irrespective of their nationality who were party to Tablighi Jamaat and have entered State of Gujarat by giving the following details:-
The State Government in its report will provide the following details:-
Further, the High Court has directed the state government that its earlier order relating to restriction of religious gatherings be implemented very strictly, and the authorities may even take coercive action to ensure that the lockdown is implemented in letter and spirit.
"We leave it open to the State to take all measures preventive or coercive as may be deemed necessary to carry out not only the guidelines and directions issued by the Central Government, the State Government but also by this Court in order to effectively contain and prevent the deadly Virus from spreading any further," the court said.
In its order, the bench highlighted that various Clerics/Preachers at the congregation had travelled from different countries all over the world, possibly infected with the Corona Virus.
During the congregation which started in Delhi sometime in the second half of February, 2020 and continued till last week of March, 2020, the court said, these people may have passed on the infection to others participating in the congregation.
Furthermore, at least 200 members of the congregation have travelled to Gujarat, the High Court noted in view of various media reports, thus posing serious threat of infecting more people within the state. Expressing concern on this matter the bench said,
"The news reports further confirmed the death of one person in Gujarat out of a total of 8 deaths all over the country who had participated in the congregation at Delhi. More than two dozens participants in the congregation have been confirmed positive for the deadly Virus. No one knows where all these 200 or more members of the congregation are now based in the State of Gujarat."
Case Title: Suo Moto v. State of Gujarat
Case No.: Suo Moto PIL No. 42/2020
Quorum: Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ashutosh J. Shastri
Appearance: Kamal B Trivedi, Advocate General with ML Shah, Government Pleader, Devang Vyas, Assistant Solicitor General and Mitesh Amin, Public Prosecutor
Click Here To Download Order