As the national capital continues to see a spike in COVID-19 deaths, the Delhi government on Wednesday in its affidavit to the High Court mentioned that private vehicle falls in the category of 'public places' and thus every person moving around in his private vehicle must mandatorily wear a mask. Delhi government in its affidavit to the HC states that the Coronavirus guidelines are very clear.
The government in its affidavit said, "The guidelines implies to all 'public places', and a personal vehicle falls in the said category and cannot be said to be a 'private zone' as contended by the petitioner in the instant case."
The Delhi government filed an affidavit in the High Court after petitioner and lawyer, Saurabh Sharma filed a plea in the court, challenging the Rs 500 challan that was issued to him for not wearing a mask while he was driving alone in his private car. Saurabh Sharma's advocate Joby P Varghese while challenging the challan issued by the Delhi Police said that a press conference organized by the Union Health Ministry had earlier stated that people don't have to wear a mask if driving alone in the car.
In response to this information, the Ministry's advocate sought more time to file a reply. Approving the request made by the Delhi government, a single-judge bench of Justice Chawla has listed the matter for January 7. The petitioner in his plea to the Delhi High Court sought a refund of the Rs 500 fine imposed against him and a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for publically causing mental harassment.
According to petitioner Saurabh Sharma, on September 9 the Delhi Police issued a challan of Rs 500 for not wearing mask even though he was alone in the car while driving to work. He further argued that the DDMA's guidelines only state that the mask has to be worn in a public place or place of work.