The Delhi High Court today ruled that wearing a mask is compulsory even if a person is travelling alone in their car during the Covid19 pandemic. "A mask is like a Suraksha Kavach for preventing the spread of the coronavirus. It protects the person wearing it and also the person who is exposed...wearing of masks has been one measure that has saved millions of lives," the high court ruled.
"Scientists and international governments advise wearing of a mask. The challenge of the pandemic was enormous, and the wearing of face masks is necessary whether a person is vaccinated or not," the court added.
"A vehicle even if constituted by one person would constitute as a public place… wearing of mask would be compulsory," Justice Pratibha Singh ruled. Justice Singh also observed that when a vehicle moves in a public space, there may be others who risk exposure justifying the need to wear masks. The high court encouraged wearing a mask at home also, especially if one is living with elderly persons or those suffering from co-morbidities.
The high court's verdict came on a plea filed by advocate Saurabh Sharma who challenged the Rs 500 fine imposed on him for not wearing a mask while he was in his personal vehicle. He also sought compensation of Rs. 10 lakh. While disposing off his plea, Justice Singh observed that as lawyers, the petitioner ought to assist in all measures to contain the spread of Covid19 without questioning the same. "They have a higher duty to show compliance, especially in extenuating circumstances," the judge said.
During the hearing, the Delhi government had submitted that there were strict guidelines on wearing masks in public spaces, even if a person is travelling alone in the car. The Centre, however, had said there were no directions mandating a person to wear masks if they are travelling alone in the car.