New Delhi:The Delhi High Court on Wednesday ruled that it is compulsory to wear a mask in a vehicle even when driving alone.
The Court stated that if the vehicle traverses through public places, there may be others who may risk exposure.
“Wearing of a mask of a face cover in a vehicle, which may be occupied by either a single person or multiple persons, is… compulsory in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the order further said.
The judgement was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh in a batch of petitions challenging the imposition of fines on those driving alone in their cars while not wearing a mask. All these petitions were dismissed as without merit, with the Court observing: “A mask is like a Suraksha Kavach for preventing the spread of the coronavirus. It protects the person wearing it as also the person who is exposed…wearing of masks has been one measure that has saved millions of lives,” the court said.
One of the petitioners, Advocate Saurabh Sharma, had also sought compensation of Rs 10 lakh after he was fined Rs 500 for not wearing a mask while he was driving alone in his private car. 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.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India, had informed the Delhi High Court in January that it has not issued any guidelines directing people to wear a mask while travelling alone in a vehicle.
Earlier, Delhi Government in the same matter had told the Delhi High Court that “any person” moving around in his personal or official vehicle must be wearing masks compulsorily. Delhi Government 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.