Can’t Blame only Beggars, Even others Flout COVID-19 Norms: High Court

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Even civilised people don’t follow social distancing norms & other rules to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the High Court of Bombay remarked on Friday, saying it would be wrong to blame beggars only.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta & Justice Madhav Jamdar made the observation while hearing a PIL filed by Pune resident Dhyandeshwar Darwatkar.

The petitioner had raised concerns that beggars were not following social distancing norms or rules like wearing masks while approaching people on road. Darwatkar’s advocate Shekar Jagtap told the court that there is an increased risk of Coronavirus spread from these persons as they do not follow any norms.

He further argued that there are several women & small children begging on roads & sought a direction to the Maharashtra Govt to take appropriate steps to regulate them.

The Bench then asked the petitioner to be “sensitive”and said the entire nation is facing difficult times & it was not right for the petitioner to target beggars only.

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Chief Justice Datta said that “Why blame only the beggars? Even civilised people do not follow rules & norms of social distancing”.

The bench directed the Govt. of Maharashtra & Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to file its affidavit & posted the plea for further hearing on Aug 14.

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