Before the Delhi High Court, the State Govt. has asserted that a personal vehicle is not a private zone and any person in it must wear a mask compulsorily. The statement was madeafter the petition was filed by an advocate seeking compensation of Rs 10 lakh after he was fined Rs 500 for not wearing a mask while driving.
With regard to it, the affidavit filed by the Delhi Government reads as;
“The main contention of the Petitioner in the instant case is that while travelling alone in his private vehicle he is not in a “public place”, therefore, he cannot be subjected to a fine for not wearing a mask…...the Regulations/Directives/Guidelines are very clear cut that “any person” moving around in his personal or official vehicle must be wearing masks compulsorily. This applies to all “public places”, and a personal vehicle falls in the said category and cannot be said to be a private zone……”
Relying on a Supreme Court judgment on the issue, the Delhi Government has submitted that when a private vehicle passes through a public road, the public has the opportunity to “approach the private vehicle” and have access to it.
Thus, while defending its orders which mandate wearing of masks and imposition of fine for non-compliance, the Delhi Government has prayed that the petition be dismissed.
A Single Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla was hearing a petition. During the course of hearing, a clarification had been issued by the Health Ministry, Government of India stating that any person sitting in a car need not wear a mask.
However, since the affidavit of the Ministry was yet to be filed, the Court adjourned the hearing till January 7. And, All petitions which raise a similar issue will be taken up on the same date.
Saurabh Sharma vs Sub-Divisional Magistrate, East & Ors