Covid Pandemic: Apex Court worried about farmers’ health as they gather in Delhi in huge number

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed concern over the gathering of large number of farmers protesting at Delhi borders amid coronavirus pandemic and asked the Centre to apprise the Apex Court of the steps being taken against the spread of the Covid-19 at the protest site.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde which also comprised Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian was hearing a plea seeking various reliefs, including the huge protest against the newly-enacted farm reform laws at Delhi borders and the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz in the National Capital last year.

The plea filed by a Jammu-based lawyer Supriya Pandita, through advocate Omprakash Parihar, questioned the role of the Centre, the Delhi government and the Delhi Police for risking the health of millions of people by allowing the gathering of farmers.

“You must tell us what is happening? I don’t know if farmers are protected from COVID. We are trying to ensure that COVID does not spread. Ensure guidelines issued are followed,” the CJI said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the Centre, replied in negative and said the government will file a status report in the current situation.

The top court issued formal notice in the matter after which the Centre’s counsel said that he will file the report.

Citing the Markaz assembly, Ms Pandita alleged that the Delhi police failed to arrest Nizamuddin Markaz chief Maulana Saad who organised the religious event resulting in a rise in the spread of pandemic across the country.

“Why are you interested in one person? We are on the issue of COVID. Why do you want controversy? We are interested that COVID guidelines should be there”, the bench said.

On farmers agitation, the Apex Court observed it could potentially become a situation like the Nizamuddin Markaz congregation in the National Capital.

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