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Delhi HC slaps Rs 20,000 fine on law student for filing PIL against lockdown relaxation

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New Delhi [India], June 12 (ANI): Expressing its concern on various problems faced by people during the lockdown, the Delhi High Court on Friday slapped a Rs 20,000 fine on a law student for filing a PIL challenging the Centre’s decision to ease lockdown and noted the decision for re-opening does not appear to have been taken in a haste.
A division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and S Prasad pointed out a series of orders which have been passed starting from March 2020 to tackle the pandemic situation.
“The government is expected to remain cognisant of the situation and evaluate it closely. If it is found that the rate of infection is going up, they can always review their decision and impose curbs, depending upon the situation,” the bench said.
The High Court, while dismissing a petition filed by law student Arjun Aggarwal, imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 directing him to deposit it in the Delhi High Court Bar Association Lawyers’ Security and Welfare Fund.
It said that it cannot interfere with the policy either on the ground that it is erroneous or on the ground that a better or a wiser alternative is available.
“Courts do not and cannot act as an appellate authority examining the correctness, suitability, and appropriateness of the policy, nor are courts advisors to the executive in matters of policy which the executive is entitled to formulate,” the bench said.
“In order to ensure a proper balance between containing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and at the same time make certain that people are not forced to starvation, the government has issued the impugned order. The re-opening has been directed in a phased manner and is not a decision that appears to have been taken in haste,” the court observed.
The High Court, taking notice of the fact that world over, the trend is now to reduce the restrictions imposed due to lockdown and to return to normalcy. Several economic packages have been announced to regenerate the economy, the bench said.
The bench observed that the lockdown has resulted in the loss of jobs for several lakhs of people and scores were forced to walk a considerable distance during the lockdown and stand in long queues at food distribution centres just to have two square meals a day.
“Several have gone hungry and were not able to get one meal. Many were left shelterless. Several lakhs of migrant labour had to walk on foot and go back to their native places. The economic situation of the country has taken a terrible hit due to the lockdown,” the order said.
“Indian economy virtually came to a standstill during the nationwide lockdown. Production in the country came to a grinding halt during the lockdown period. Construction activities in the country have stopped. People have become unemployed which raises grave concerns regarding the law and order situation in the country,” it added. (ANI)

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