The practice of affixing posters and signage outside COVID-19 patients’ homes, often stigmatising the residents, is not one prescribed by the Central government in its guidelines to tackle the disease, the Supreme Court was informed today.
“The Central government guidelines do not require this…There cannot be any stigmatic impact,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta today told a Supreme Court bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy, and MR Shah, according to a PTI report.
Responding to the bench’s query if the Centre could issue an advisory on posters, Mr Mehta referred to a Health Ministry affidavit filed in the court to say that it had already been done.
The ministry’s affidavit says that “its guidelines do not contain any instructions or guidance regarding affixing of posters or other signage outside the residences of those found COVID positive”. It also says that all states have been informed of this fact.
The court then closed the matter and reserved its judgment, PTI reported.
The petitioner’s counsel had argued earlier that no such instructions had been issued. “Posters are also affixed with names of COVID positive patients on it…This practice should stop once and for all,” the counsel said.
While hearing the matter on December 1, the top court had observed that once posters or signage are pasted outside the homes of COVID patients, the people affected are treated as “untouchables”, reflecting a different “ground reality”.
On November 3, the Delhi government had told the high court that it has instructed all its officials to not paste posters outside homes of COVID-19 positive persons or those in home isolation; and the ones pasted have been ordered to be removed.