New Delhi [India], December 1 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday posted to December 3 hearing on public interest litigation (PIL) against the decision of states and union territories to affix posters outside homes of COVID-19 patients, divulging their identities.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the central government, told the top court that the government has filed an affidavit on the PIL on November 30 and it has not issued any order to affix such posters outside homes of COVID-19 patients.
"We have not prescribed affixing such posters. It's not Centre and if something is pasted to stigmatise the person, to maligned him, this should not be done, it is to be avoided. But states may have passed such directions. The motive of posters is that unaware person doesn't enter the home of COVID patients," Mehta said.
Justice MR Shah said that the hard reality is different. "These people are treated like untouchables," he said.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked the petitioner to file a counter-affidavit and posted the matter for hearing on Thursday.
This PIL, filed by advocate Kush Kalra, challenged the affixing of posters outside the homes of COVID-19 patients as a mark of identification as well as divulging of names of such patients to housing societies' management and Resident Welfare Associations, saying such disclosure of the identity of patients is in gross violation of their fundamental right to privacy.
The plea sought directions to ensure such disclosure of names does not take place. It sought quashing of the executive orders of the states and union territories that allow affixing of posters outside homes of the COVID-19 patients.
It said that the move adds to the stigma attached to the disease and the revelation of names of patients also fails the tests of proportionality and reasonableness.
"The Constitution does not and can never permit discrimination on the ground of illness and physical suffering," the plea said, adding that circulation of names of such persons and subjecting them to the scrutiny of the public goes against the ethos of living with dignity.
"Affixing posters outside their homes leads to their illness being widely publicised amongst other residents of a colony or apartment complex as well as household staff of neighbours, vendors, passers-by and other unrelated persons," the plea said.
It also claimed that while some states have already rescinded their executive orders for affixing of such posters, the majority of states continue with this practice. (ANI)