Mask not mandatory if Person is alone in a Vehicle: MoHFW to HC

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The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India has informed the High Court of Delhi that it hasn’t issued any guidelines directing people to wear a mask while travelling alone in a vehicle.

The response of the Union of India has come through an affidavit in an ongoing petition filed by Lawyer Saurabh Sharma challenging the Rs 500 challan issued to him for not wearing a mask while he was driving alone in his private car.

MoHFW has also submitted that health is a state subject & therefore, the present matter, prima facie, pertains to Delhi Govt and prayed to delete MoHFW name from the list of array of parties.

Earlier, Delhi Govt in the same matter had told the High Court of Delhi that “any person” moving around in his personal or official vehicle must be wearing masks compulsorily. Delhi Govt in its affidavit had submitted that guidelines are very clear cut that, “any person” moving around in his personal or official vehicle must be wearing masks compulsorily.

“All “Public Places”, & a personal vehicle falls in the said category & cannot be said to be a “private zone” as contended by the petitioner in the instant case,” the State Govt said.

The Court was hearing a plea which sought a refund of Rs 500 fine imposed against him & compensation of Rs 10 lakh for publicly causing mental harassment. According to petitioner Saurabh Sharma, on Sept 9, 2020, Delhi Police issued a challan of Rs 500 for not wearing a mask even though he was alone in the car while driving to work.

The petitioner argued that the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) guidelines only state that the mask has to be worn in a public place or place of work. 

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