Mask must even if driving alone: Delhi HC

at 1:20 pm
Delhi HC
Representational image

New Delhi: Terming any vehicle a ‘public place’, the Delhi High Court today ruled that a mask is compulsory even if a person is driving alone in a car.

The court said a private vehicle on the roads is also covered under the definition of a public place.

While hearing a plea challenging fines for not wearing a mask while driving alone, Judge Pratibha M Singh said, “Even if you are alone in the car, why object to wearing a mask? It is for your own safety.”

“The pandemic crisis has increased. Whether a person is vaccinated or not, they should wear masks,” the judge added.

She said this was the least anyone could do to be safe against Covid.

The court said when a car stops at a traffic signal, drivers often have to roll down their window. “The coronavirus is so contagious that even in that time, anyone can be infected,” it said.

Lawyer Saurabh Sharma was among the three petitioners who approached the court challenging a ₹ 500 fine imposed by the Delhi Police.

During hearings, the Union Health Ministry had told the High Court that there was no rule that a lone driver had to wear a mask. But every state had the right to make its own rules and enforce them, the ministry had asserted.

Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government argued in favour of masks for all in private or public vehicles and had also passed such an order in April last year.

But the petitioner pointed out that despite the Delhi government rule, the Union Health Ministry had said in a press conference around the same time that it was not necessary for a person driving alone to wear a mask.

Across India, over 1.15 lakh new Covid cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours for first time since the beginning of the pandemic, a grim milestone in the second wave of infections.