The Karnataka High court said that public gatherings and protests are becoming a major reason for the further spread of the virus in the state of Bengaluru. A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi noted that in August and September 2020, there were a total number of 35 cases of such protests which catered to the rapid spread of the virus. Such protests are not only a threat to the lives of the people but in fact, they are also in gross violation of the various norms of social distancing and wearing masks. Thus, the court rightly directed that such gatherings must be strictly avoided and the state authorities must come down on such breaches with heavy hands.
The petitioner named Sai Dutta contended that on 28th September there was a congregation held and this was further supported with mass public protests and agitation. The counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner claimed that if such instances continue to happen then the spread of COVID in the state would get out of control and it would be in violation of the rules of the disaster management act, 2005. The petitioner has relied upon the order under Section 10(2)(l) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 dated 29th August 2020. The guidelines of the unlock part 4 are part of the order. The submission of the petitioner is that similar guidelines are a part of further order passed by the Chairman of the National Executive Committee on September 30th. The petitioner contended that in the protests held the people were not following any COVID safety norms and measures. Nobody was found to be wearing a mask and social distancing was a myth. It is intrinsic for the state authorities to act in their jurisdiction and curtail the spread of the virus by taking steps that are very well under their control. If the state authorities at their level guide and spread awareness among the people then only it will be for the benefit of the public.
Thus, the PIL filed by the petitioner is in the best interests of the public and society at large. As the court emphasized the role of state bodies to handle such breaches with all due attention and care. At the same time, it also may be noted that self-awareness in such a global pandemic is very integral.