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New Delhi [India], November 5 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the central government to respond on a public interest litigation (PIL) against the decision of States and Union Territories (UTs) to affix posters outside the homes of COVID-19 patients, divulging their identities.
The bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked the central government to file an affidavit within two weeks on the plea.
The counsel appearing on behalf of the Solicitor General told the bench that the petition copy has been received and sought time to file an affidavit. He added the plea copy has also been forwarded to the departments concerned.
“We are granting two weeks time to Centre to file an affidavit,” the bench said.
This PIL, filed by advocate Kush Kalra, challenged the affixing of posters outside the homes of COVID-19 patients as a mark of identification, as well as divulging names of such patients to housing societies’ management and Resident Welfare Associations, saying such disclosure of the identity of patients is in gross violation of their fundamental right to privacy.
The plea sought directions to ensure such disclosure of names does not take place and quashing of the executive orders of the States and Union Territories that allow affixing of posters outside homes of the COVID-19 patients.
It said that the act adds to the stigma attached to the disease and the revelation of names of patients also fail the tests of proportionality and reasonableness.
“The Constitution does not and can never permit discrimination on the ground of illness and physical suffering,” the plea said, adding that circulation of names of such persons publicly and subjecting them to the scrutiny of the public goes against the ethos of living with dignity.
“Affixing posters outside their homes lead to their illness is being widely publicised amongst other residents of a colony or apartment complex as well as household staff of neighbours, vendors, passers-by and other unrelated persons,” it added.
The plea claimed that while some states have already rescinded their executive orders for affixing of such posters, the majority of states continue with this practice. (ANI)