Names of COVID19 Patients Cannot be Revealed, Involves Right to Privacy: Bombay High Court

A PIL has been filed by Adv. Vinod Sangvikar on behalf of Vaishnavi Gholave, a final year law student and Mahesh Gadekar, an agriculturist from Solapur. The petition
seeks directions to evolve a special mechanism for revealing names of Covid-19 patients for the benefit of the public at large.

Adv Aditya Thakkar while appearing on behalf of the Union of India, contended that names of Covid-19 positive persons cannot be revealed as per ICMR guidelines to avoid stigmatisation of such patients.

A division bench of Justice AA Sayed and Justice MS Karnik while hearing the petition questioned the petitioners regarding the right of privacy of such patients –

“Authorities declare a particular place or a building as a containment zone after someone tests positive in order to make people aware so that they do not go there. Is that not enough?Why do you want to know the identity of persons who test positive for Covid-19? This involves their right to privacy.”

The petition also asserts that India has not reached the stage of community transfer, but might reach that stage, if the Government fails to declare the names of the corona patients.

Court issued notice to Centre and State seeking their reply to the said PIL and posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.

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