The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to take strict action against the large number of violations of lockdown regulations by political figures in the state.
A division bench in the High Court comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy issued the directions while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Letzkit Foundation based in Bengaluru. The petitioner pointed out that there were many violations of lockdown regulations and specifically raised the issue of elected leaders not wearing masks in public meetings.
The High Court bench stated that it would send a wrong message to the public in the state if no action is taken against political figures and elected representatives for the violations, The Hindu reported.
TNM had earlier reported how several politicians including Karnataka's Health Minister were found in large public gatherings without wearing masks or maintaining distancing.
The High Court bench also called for strict enforcement of norms like wearing masks, maintaining distancing, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for various places, including places of worship, parks, parlous and offices.
The Bench also asked the state government to set up a Grievance Redressal Mechanism (GRM) within the next week. The bench said that it should enable the public to lodge complaints on lockdown violations including through SMS, WhatsApp messages and e-mail, LiveLaw reported.
The High Court also directed the state government to appoint more government officials to levy fines and initiate action against those not wearing masks. The officials were asked to act on complaints and ensure action is taken under Sections 51 to 54 of the Disaster Management Act and under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code against violators.
Data released by the state government showed that up till June 20, more than 1.31 lakh home quarantine violations were reported in the state. 44.86% of violations were reported in Bengaluru, the state capital, where cases are increasing every day.
A total of 11,307 violations were reported in Mysuru and 10,385 violations were reported in Kalaburagi district.