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Opinion

Covid-19 does not differentiate between rich and poor: Supreme Court

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The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) does not differentiate between rich and poor, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday, lamenting that arguments are being made about how poor people will not be able to pay higher fines instead of ensuring that everyone uses one. mask to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

The Supreme Court court, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, was hearing a suo motu matter (after taking note for himself) related to various measures being taken by the Center and the states to deal with the Covid pandemic- 19.

When the question of wearing masks came up, Judge MR Shah, who was also part of the court, referred to the statistics presented to the court by the Gujarat government to express surprise that more than 10 crore in fines just because of people not wearing masks.

“Isn’t it surprising that more than 10 million rupees are raised just for not wearing masks? And this can only be the tip of the iceberg. There could be many more, ”Judge Shah said.

Attorney General Tushar Mehta, who represents the Center and the Gujarat government in the matter, responded that the amount of the fine has increased to around Rs 19 million.

Faced with this, Judge RS Reddy, another member of the bench, said: “There are reports that the infection rate is dropping across the country. And look at what people do. They began to celebrate marriages in large gatherings. ”

Mehta, for her part, argued that higher fines for not wearing a mask could be an effective deterrent, but the court responded: “We cannot tell states how much the fine should be. It is up to the states to take a call. ”

Joining the discussion, defender Vishal Awtani, who had filed an application in the matter, told the court that the poor will not be able to pay higher fines and therefore the SG’s suggestion to increase the fine may not be the one. proper solution.

But this argument did not sit well with the banks, which emphasized that everyone has received free masks from all governments.

“Why don’t the poor get free masks? Rich or poor, everyone has to follow the law. This virus does not differentiate between rich and poor, ”said the bank.

The court added that if people found it too difficult to pay the fines, the collection in just one state (Gujarat) could not reach around 18-19 crore rupees, while stressing that everyone should be encouraged to use masks, follow social distancing, and comply with other safety regulations.

Consider giving residents, interns a break

During the hearing, the court also asked the SG to investigate reports that medical residents and interns had breaks from work despite being on duty for months.

“Lord Mehta, you should investigate this as well. There may be a shortage of doctors, but that doesn’t mean these medical residents and interns, who are students, won’t be given a break for months together. Some of them have not had a gap in the last eight months, ”the bank told the SG.

The court expressed fear that such lengthy duties could affect his mental health.

“They are mentally devastated. They have been working non-stop for eight months. They also need to rest. Consider giving them a break after a month of work. What if budding doctors are mentally wrecked at this age? “he asked Mehta, who assured the bank that the government would examine the issue.

The bank also said it will approve a detailed order later this week on fire safety standards in hospitals. Previously, the bank learned suo motu of the tragedy of the fire at a Covid hospital in Rajkot, where five lives were lost. He had requested fire safety reports from every state and territory in the Union.

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