Supreme Court dismisses plea challenging 'social distancing' term, imposes fine of Rs 10,000

In another case, the Supreme Court asked states to consider non-direct contact or online sales and home delivery of liquor during the lockdown period to prevent the spread of coronavirus in view of crowding at the shops.

Supreme Court dismisses plea challenging 'social distancing' term, imposes fine of Rs 10,000
Image courtesy: ANI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday (May 8) dismissed a petition challenging the use of the term "social distancing" and imposed a penalty of Rs 10,000 while taking a strong view on the plea. 

Pleading for petitioner Shakeel Qureshi, lawyer SB Deshmukh drew the court's attention to the use of the term "social distancing" by Uttar Pradesh and few other state governments is discriminatory against minorities. They should rather use the term physical distancing, the plea said.

The apex court not only dismissed the petition but also ordered the petitioner to submit a penalty of Rs 10,000 for wasting the court's time. 

States asked to consider online sales, home delivery of liquor

The Supreme Court today asked states to consider non-direct contact or online sales and home delivery of liquor during the lockdown period to prevent the spread of coronavirus in view of crowding at the shops.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and B R Gavai, which took up the matter through video conferencing, disposed of the plea challenging the guidelines issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on May 1, allowing sales of liquor through direct contact sales during the lockdown period.

The bench directed that states may consider allowing non-direct contact sales or online sales or home delivery of liquor during these times, advocate Sai Deepak, appearing for petitioner Guruswamy Nataraj, told PTI after the hearing.

The advocate argued that there are 70,000 liquor vends across the country and over five crore people have till now purchased liquor from these shops, adding that due to social distancing norms not being followed at the liquor vends and shops, there has been a rise in Covid-19 cases.

The bench said that discussion is already going on for allowing online sales of liquor or its home delivery, and then directed the state to consider online sales or home delivery of liquor during the lockdown period and disposed of the matter.

Earlier on May 1, the MHA issued fresh guidelines while announcing a "limited" lockdown which includes suspension of air, train and interstate road travel for two more weeks from May 4 across the country, but some activities were allowed after classifications of districts into 'Red', 'Orange' and 'Green' zones based on COVID-19 risk profiling.

The nation-wide lockdown that entered its third phase on May 4, had begun on March 24, to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic that has claimed 1,886 lives in India and has till date recorded 56,324 cases since January 29.