COVID-19: Private vehicle public place even with single person, mask has to be worn, says Delhi HC

By: |
April 7, 2021 4:24 PM

The ruling by Justice Prathiba M Singh came while dismissing four petitions by lawyers challenging the imposition of Rs 500 fine on them for not wearing face masks while travelling alone in a private car.

The petitioner-lawyers had contended that masks were to be worn only in public places and private vehicles cannot be termed as a public place.The petitioner-lawyers had contended that masks were to be worn only in public places and private vehicles cannot be termed as a public place.

The Delhi High Court held on Wednesday that a vehicle, even if occupied by a single person, is a public place in the context of COVID-19 pandemic as there are several possibilities of the occupant being exposed to the outside world and therefore, wearing mask inside a car is compulsory.

The ruling by Justice Prathiba M Singh came while dismissing four petitions by lawyers challenging the imposition of Rs 500 fine on them for not wearing face masks while travelling alone in a private car.

The petitioner-lawyers had contended that masks were to be worn only in public places and private vehicles cannot be termed as a public place.

The court said that the term ‘public place’, has to be interpreted in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are several possibilities in which while sitting alone in the car one could be exposed to the outside world. Thus, it cannot be said that merely because the person is travelling alone in a car, the car would not be a public place,” the court said.

It said a vehicle moving across the city, even if occupied at a given point in time by one person, would be a public place owing to the immediate risk of exposure to other persons under varying circumstances.

“Thus, a vehicle even if occupied by only one person would constitute a ‘public place’ and wearing of a mask therein, would be compulsory. The wearing of a mask or a face cover in a vehicle, which may be occupied by either a single person or multiple persons is thus held to be compulsory in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Justice Singh said in her judgement.

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