New Delhi: The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed a plea seeking to reveal identities of coronavirus patients stating it concerns with the privacy of the individuals. Also Read - Government Has Reserved Rs 500 Billion For COVID-19 Vaccination: Report
“How far can one go in revealing the identity of the person who has tested positive (for COVID-19)? Privacy rights are involved,” observed Justice AA Sayed and MS Karnik while hearing the petition. Also Read - Chinese President Xi Jinping Replaces 'Asur' in Bengal's Durga Idol; Picture Goes Viral
The petition was filed by a law student Vaishnavi Gholave and Mahesh Gadekar, a farmer from Solapur, seeking disclosure of COVID-19 patient names in order to enable smoother contact-tracing and protect others from getting infected. Also Read - 3 Booked for Holding Dandiya Event in Pune Amid Covid-19 Pandemic
However, the two-judge bench said that doing so will clash with the fundamental right to privacy, adding that it needs to see which of these rights would advance public morality and interest.
“The authorities declare a particular place or building as a containment zone when someone tests positive so that people are made aware. Isn’t this enough? Why do you want to know who is the person who has tested positive,” asked Justice Sayed.
Advocate Aditya Thakkar, appearing for the Union government, submitted that as per the guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the names of COVID-19 positive persons cannot be revealed because it may lead to their stigmatisation, as seen in case of frontline workers in the initial stage of the outbreak.
However, the petitioners’ lawyer, Vinod Sangvikar, argued that the ICMR guidelines extended only to those who have died due to COVID-19.
The Bombay High Court also directed the Maharashtra government to file a response to the petition. The next hearing in the case has been deferred till two weeks.
With PTI inputs