High court seeks reply from U'khand govt on tourism minister disobeying COVID-19 guidelines

Nainital, Jun 5 (PTI) The Uttarakhand High Court on Friday asked the central and state governments to reply to a plea claiming that Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj, who has tested positive for COVID-19, disobeyed the Centre's guidelines on protection from coronavirus.

The court said when people are facing legal action for defying the rules of quarantine then it is imperative that public representatives are also made answerable for flouting the rules.  It also directed Satpal Maharaj to file a reply within three weeks in this regard.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice RC Khulbe heard the matter through videoconferencing.  Dehradun-resident Umesh Kumar Sharma had claimed in the PIL that cabinet minister Satpal Maharaj had been quarantined from May 29 to June 3 by the order of the district magistrate and the chief medical officer, but he attended two important cabinet meetings during this period.

It was also claimed in the PIL that from May 25 to May 27, Satpal Maharaj toured his constituency after which he participated in another cabinet meeting on May 29. In this period, his family members tested positive for coronanavirus due to which many high-ranking officers and ministers had to be quarantined.  It has been questioned in the PIL as to why a case has not been registered against Satpal Maharaj. The petition pleads that a case under the Disaster Management Act be filed against the minister. PTI Corr ALM DPB