The Karnataka High Court on Thursday said the time had come for the State government and local authorities like the BBMP to conduct very comprehensive drives to enforce norms of wearing masks and maintaining social distance as the number of positive cases were on the rise.
The only finding that we can record today is that these norms are not implemented in their letter and spirit and no serious effort is being made to enforce these norms, observed a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi.
The Bench was hearing a petition filed by Letzkit Foundation, a city-based social organisation complaining about not wearing of masks and maintaining social distance, particularly the prominent personalities in public places.
As it was alleged by a counsel for the petitioner that the norms were violated during a recent rally, in which MP Tejaswi Surya, who is also an advocate, participated, the Bench directed the government to submit action-taken report on violations.
Referring to enforcing the norms in Bengaluru, which is leading in the country with the highest number of cases, the Bench wondered how a mere 198 marshals could enforce norm by imposing fine in a city with a population of 1.3 crore.
The Bench termed as “false” the government‘s claim of the norm of mask wearing was followed during the foundation laying ceremony for Kempegowda statue on Bengaluru airport premises on June 27 as the photos, produced by the government showed at least five people either not wearing masks or wearing them inappropriately.
However, the government counsel told the court that fine was collected from some of the invitees as the event was open only for invited guests and not the public.
The Bench, in another petition, directed the government to inform the action taken taken against those persons who had violated norms during the protests and dharnas held as part of bandh call given by various organisations on September 28.