Frontline COVID-19 workers should not be ostracised: Bombay HC

Mumbai: Frontline Covid-19 workers should be encouraged to discharge their duty  without fear and should not be ostracised for travelling to work daily, the Bombay  High Court has said.

Dismissing a petition filed by a Palghar district resident, seeking for such  workers to be kept in isolation, a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta  and Justice Amjad Sayed said that a sense of fear drove the petitioner to approach  the court, but narrow personal interest must yield to the greater public interest  that is involved.

“The essential staffers, having an onerous responsibility of discharging most  important public duties, are perceived by the petitioners as carriers of infection  who could easily spread it among others,” the bench said.

“We are also inclined to the view that even if some of such staffers might have  unfortunately been infected by COVID-19, that is no ground to sort of ostracise  them,” added the court.

The bench further said that authorities have been engaged in formulating policies  to tackle the pandemic and these essential staffers have been tirelessly working to  implement the measures of the overall benefit of mankind.

“It is a humane approach which is the call of the moment. The essential staffers,  instead of being put to any disability because of their nature of work and also  instead of being forced to reside in a place away from their houses, should be  encouraged to discharge their duty without fear of duress and restraint.”

According to the court, these staffers themselves will take the greatest care and  act with caution to ensure that they are free of the infection and do not transmit  the same to their families.

The petition had been filed by one Charan Bhatt, in which he sought temporary  accommodation in Mumbai for the essential service providers, who commute between  Mumbai and Palghar district everyday for their work.

Bhatt, in his plea filed through advocate Uday Warunjikar, claimed that frontline  workers contracting the infection in Mumbai and travelling back to their homes in  Vasai and Virar had become one of the primaryreasons for the spread of Covid-19 in  Palghar district. He added that the situation is similar in areas such as Thane,  Kalyan Dombivali and Navi Mumbai as well.


NT Bureau