Plea against ‘detention’ of 1,408 people at quarantine centres.

The Bombay High Court has sought response from the Maharashtra government and the Nagpur Municipal Corporation on a plea alleging that the civic authorities “illegally detained” 1,408 people from two coronavirus hotspots and put them in quarantine facilities.

Justice A S Kilor of the Nagpur bench on Sunday took up for urgent hearing the petition filed by local resident Mohammad Nishat, alleging that the city civic authorities illegally detained 1,408 people from Satranjipura and Mominpura areas on the ground that they were high-risk contacts of those who tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the petitioners advocate Tushar Mandlekar, the authorities randomly picked 1,408 people and thus, violated the prescribed protocols and guidelines issued by the Union government and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Mandlekar argued that only persons found to be coronavirus positive or their high-risk contacts can be detained and quarantined for 14 days.

The 1,408 people detained by authorities do not fall under these categories and hence, detaining them amounts to infringement of their fundamental rights, he said.

However, the Nagpur civic body’s advocate Sudhir Puranik told the court that as per preliminary information obtained from the authorities concerned, only the persons who are identified as high-risk contacts have been taken to the quarantine facilities.

Puranik further told the court that all guidelines issued in respect of COVID-19 were being strictly followed.

Mandlekar then told the court that these people have been sent to quarantine facilities set up in the MLA Hostel and Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT), which are located in crowded areas.

As per guidelines issued by ICMR and the Union government, the quarantine facility should preferably be on the outskirts of a city, Mandlekar argued.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on May 5, and directed the government and the Nagpur civic body to file their affidavits.

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