Decided on March 23,2020

C.H. Sharma,Subhash Jainarayan Zanwar Appellant


- (1.) We have heard Shri Anup Gilda, learned amicus curiae for petitioners, Shri D.P. Thakre, learned Additional Government Pleader for respondent Nos.1 to 3/ State, Shri U.M. Aurangabadkar, learned A.S.G.I. for respondent No.6/Union of India, Shri S.M. Puranik, learned counsel for respondent No.4/NMC, Shri Ram Heda, learned counsel for petitioner in PIL No.10/2020. We have also heard Shri Jugalkishor Gilda, learned Senior Advocate, Shri Bhanudas Kulkarni, learned Advocate and Shri P.D. Sharma, learned Advocate who have voluntarily given their assistance to this Court in the present matters. We have gone through the reply filed on behalf of the Collector, Nagpur and Municipal Corporation. On going through the reply of these authorities we feel satisfied that as of now proper steps are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and also effectively treat confirmed cases of the disease. However, some concerns still remain there and we are of the view that they need to be addressed effectively and as quickly as possible.
(2.) Now it has become common knowledge that COVID-19 is a disease that spreads very fast after the disease crosses its second stage of the affliction and at this stage utmost care regarding the treatment and prevention is required to be taken not only by the authorities but also the members of the community. At this point of time it is the prevention apart from the treatment of the disease that really works in containing the disease. Therefore, it is necessary for the authorities to take all steps required for preventing the spread of the disease. One of the steps could be of enforcing what is now a days called as "social distancing" which is actually physical distancing. The Commissioner of Police has already issued an order under Section 144 of the Cr.P.C. This order prohibits assembly or movement of five or more persons at any public place within Nagpur city. Similar order has been issued by District Magistrate, Nagpur for rural areas. However, such an order issued under Section 144 of Cr.P.C. would not be enough to restrict the movement of individual persons on roads and confine the members of the community to their respective homes. For that matter, the Police Commissioner and the District Magistrate would also have to consider if the order be issued under this very Section in a manner as to prohibit movement of even a single person on public roads and public places including in the vehicles on public roads and public places. We are of the view that if such an order is issued by these authorities, it would go a long way in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
(3.) Shri Heda, learned counsel produced before us a newspaper clipping, raising another concern regarding spread of disease. This newspaper clipping is taken on record and it is marked 'X' for identification. It's copy has been furnished to the learned Additional Government Pleader and learned counsel for the N.M.C. The clipping contains a report regarding turning a way of a lady patient residing in Hindustan Colony from the facility at the GMC, Nagpur where the Corona virus testing was being done. It is her claim that she was suffering from cough, cold and was running high fever and on the advice of her family doctor that she went to Medical College and Hospital for getting her tested for Corona virus. But, she was turned way from there on the ground that she had no foreign travel history. At this stage, we cannot make any comment about the genuineness of the report. But, we can certainly say that this report raises a serious concern over the safety of all those persons who have happened to come in contact with any of such patients since last five days and who were likely to come in contact with such patients in days to come and, therefore, it would be necessary for the Collector, Nagpur as well as Municipal Commissioner, Nagpur to get this report verified for its correctness or otherwise. If it is found upon the verification that report is correct, the authorities would have to take necessary steps in the matter. Needless to say, verification report shall be placed before this Court on the next day.;

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