Wearing mask compulsory even when driving alone: Delhi High Court

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The Delhi High Court has ruled that wearing a mask in a vehicle is compulsory during the COVID-19 pandemic even if it is occupied only by its driver and has no other occupants (Saurabh Sharma vs Sub-Divisional Magistrate, East & Ors).

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday held that wearing a mask while driving alone in a private vehicle was mandatory during COVID-19, noting that the face-covering is like a ‘Suraksha kavach’ amid the pandemic.

The court said the mask was like a ‘Suraksha kavach’ (protective shield) during the prevailing pandemic.

man wearing a face mask driving a vehicle
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The Court opined that if the vehicle traverses through public places, there may be others who may risk exposure. In this regard, the Court also noted that wearing masks is encouraged even within the home if there are elderly persons or persons with co-morbidities. As such, it was held that “a vehicle even if constituted by one person would constitute a public place.. wearing of mask would be compulsory.”

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 masks has been one measure that has saved millions of lives.

During the proceedings, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, represented by advocate Farman Ali Magray, had told the court that it has not issued any direction asking people to wear masks in a car when they are alone.

The ministry said health is a state subject and the Delhi government has to take a decision on it.

The Delhi government, on the other hand, asserted that a personal vehicle was not a private zone and any person in it must wear a mask compulsorily.

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