New Delhi, November 5: The Supreme Court on Thursday said the Centre cannot be idle after merely issuing an advisory against use of disinfectants or UV rays to fumigate human beings to check the spread of Covid-19. It has asked the government to either ban or at least regulate their use in a month in disinfection tunnels. 

A three-judge bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked the Centre to comply with its order within the period, given the health hazards related to their use, The Economic Times reported. 

The ruling came on a petition filed by Gurusimran Singh Narula, which drew the court’s attention to widespread use of disinfectants on migrants fleeing from cities during the lockdown imposed by the Modi government and use by public authorities without any caution. 

Responding to the court’s notices, the government had earlier said disinfectants were harmful and created huge physical and psychological scars on people. It cited a report of a committee that fumigation could not protect humans from the disease or its spread. The court on Thursday said that the government had wide powers and responsibility under the 2005 Act to remedy the situation. 

“In event use of disinfectant on the human body is to cause adverse effect on the health of the people,there has to be immediate remedial action and (the government) cannot stop only by saying that such use is not recommended,” the court observed. 

Although the government had issued the advisory recommending against the use of disinfectants as a fumigant, a large number of organisations, public authorities continue to use disinfectants on the human body, the bench noted. It was therefore necessary for the government to issue directions either to prevent such use or regulate such use as per requirement to protect the health of the people, the court said. 

“When public authorities/organisations were using disinfectants both chemical/organic on the human body and there were various studies to the effect that it may be harmful to the health and the body, some more actions were required to remove the cloud of uncertainty and to regulate the use even if it was to either prevent such use or regulate the use so that health of citizens is amply protected. 

Right to life guaranteed by the Constitution not only guarantees the right to health to all citizens but also the right to dignity,” the court said. 

The pandemic has threatened the health of the entire citizenry of the country and all facets including its prevention, mitigation and cure have to be taken care of by authorities empowered with different duties and functions under different statutes.

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