The Delhi government has told the Delhi High Court that a personal vehicle on a public road cannot be said to be a private zone rather it is a public zone.
The argument was provided by the state to defend its decision of making it compulsory for people to wear masks when they are travelling in their personal or official vehicles, alone or otherwise.
Due to the widespread prevalence of Covid-19 in the national capital, the Chairman of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) had directed wearing of the mask by any person who is moving in any public place is essential.
The order also went on explicitly state that “any person moving around in his personal and official vehicle must be wearing these masks compulsorily”.
The petitioner’s argument is that his vehicle is a private zone, he was travelling alone, and that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has clarified that no such guideline has been issued by the central government.
Supreme Court’s opinion
Supreme Court was hearing a plea by Bihar based individuals, who had been charged for consuming alcohol in public space.
The individuals had challenged the verdict on the grounds that they were in their cars when they were apprehended and it does not qualify to be a public space.
However, the Bihar government had defined public space as “any place where public has access to, whether as a matter of right or not”. They said the place qualified as public space as it was apprehended on a road.
The court dismissed the argument of petitioners that a vehicle is not covered by the definition of “public place” as given in the law amended in 2016 by Bihar.