Ahmedabad, Oct 5 (PTI) The Gujarat High Court on Monday asked the state government to ensure that everyone, including politicians, follows the rule of wearing masks in public places to shield themselves from contracting COVID-19 and curbing its spread.
The HC made the observation while referring to a video of a large congregation where a political leader is seen addressing people who are without masks.
Chief Justice Vikram Nath mentioned the video before Government Pleader Manisha Lavkumar Shah.
Shah said the HC Chief Justice, while mentioning about the video, asked the government to make sure that mask rules are imposed uniformly on all, including politicians.
The Chief Justice said he has noticed that in some rallies with large congregations, people were not wearing masks, and asked the government what it was doing to deal with such occurrences, Shah said.
'I said that off-hand, we don't know what video the court is talking about, but a mask is something that the state is stringently following, and we have been imposing heavy penalties (on those flouting the rule),' she said.
It was a casual remark wherein the Chief Justice asked to make sure that the rule is imposed uniformly, the Government Pleader said.
In a recent order in a suo motu case on handling of COVID-19 by the state administration, the division bench of Chief Justice Nath and Justice J B Pardiwala had observed that '...the norms and protocols, as prescribed by the government, time to time, needs to be scrupulously followed, and this applies even to political leaders of the state.' 'The political leaders of the state are expected to lead their masses and not by themselves flout the norms or the rules and regulations prescribed to combat the pandemic,' the bench had said.
'The flouting of the norms at the end of the political leaders would set a bad example for the people at large, and the same may prompt the people to defy the norms,' it had said.
The court made the observations when Shah was filing a report on behalf of the Rajkot Police Commissioner on cases of illegal sale of remdesivir injection used for treatment of COVID-19 patients in Rajkot district.
The Chief Justice had on October 1 sought the report after coming across a news item on illegal sale of remdesivir injection.
In his report, Police Commissioner Manoj Agarwal had said that four cases of 'black marketing and bogus billing of remdesivir injection' were registered in Rajkot.
The Police Commissioner had said an investigation was in progress in these cases under appropriate sections of law.
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