Mon, 25 Jan 2021

New Delhi [India], November 27 (ANI): Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Arvind Kejriwal government to take a call as to whether night curfew should be imposed in the entire national capital or just some parts of it, or whether other measures are needed to contain COVID-19 in the capital territory.

The remark of the division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad came after the court asked the Delhi government as to whether it is proposing to follow up the request made to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

During the hearing, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government informed the Delhi High Court that there is no decision yet on imposing some kind of curfews, but it is under active consideration depending on the surge in COVID-19 infection.

During the hearing the court also sought from Advocate Anurag Ahulawalia, Centre Government Standing Counsel, to obtain clear instructions from the Union of India.

After getting instructions from the Centre, Ahulawalia informed the court that in terms of the new 'Guidelines for Surveillance, Containment and Caution' issued on November 25, by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, States and UTs can now impose local restrictions with a view of containing the spread of COVID-19 such as night curfew, on their own assessment of the situation through any imposition of a local lockdown outside the Containment zones in State/District/Sub-Division/City Level will require prior consultation with the Central Government.

The court asked Delhi Government to file a fresh status report and listed the matter for further hearing on December 3.

Appearing for Delhi Government, Senior Advocate Sandeep Sethi and Additional Standing Counsel Satyakam apprised the court about the present situations in the national capital.

The arrangement for burial and cremation of those who have succumbed to COVID-19 infection is stated to be sufficient. The present capacity of the crematoriums in Delhi is 380 bodies per day and Senior Advocate appearing for the Delhi Govt. states that the said capacity can be enhanced, if necessary.

The court agreed with the submission made by the petitioner and advocate Rakesh Malhotra, who states that 6,562 lives in Delhi were lost to COVID-19 infection up to November 1, which if divided over eight months, would come to an average of 800 deaths per month whereas in the month of November 2020 alone, that has still a few days left, the death rate has crossed 2,000, which itself is alarming.

"Even if the mortality rate in Delhi due to the infection is lower than some other cities in India, that can hardly be a solace to those who have lost a near and dear one," the court noted.

When the Delhi government informed the court that they have collected 40,000 samples through RT-PCR testing, the court said that it has come after the High Court's constant pushing and prodding and the loss of several lives.

During the hearing, the court also sought to know the availability of beds in COVID care centers and 33 private hospitals. It also took account of funeral arrangements in the national capital.

The court also directed Delhi Government to take concrete steps to manage the crowd in market area of the national capital.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Rakesh Malhotra seeking directions to conduct large-scale rapid testing in the national capital for identifying the infected people. (ANI)

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