The Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the State government to create a grievance redressal mechanism, which would enable citizens to come forward to file complaints via WhatsApp or email about violations of COVID norms.
The order was passed by a Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj, after it was brought to the notice of the Court that large congregations have been happening in the State amid COVID-19.
“Today across the Bar, grievances have been made about large gatherings and congregations in the State. We direct the state government to create a grievance redress mechanism enabling citizens to forward complaints on violations of the provisions of the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020 so that complaints can be immediately looked into by State level committee and City level committee. Citizens can submit complaints through email, WhatsApp or any other form of media,” the order said.
The said mechanism will have to be notified within 3 days and wide publicity should be given to its availability via newspapers and electronic media, the Court added.
Further, the Court directed that the information pertaining to grievance committees should be published at the offices of all local authorities including Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
The Court was hearing a plea moved by Letzkit Foundation seeking strict implementation of COVID-19 norms.
During the hearing, a memo filed by the State government was submitted before the Court placing on record a circular dated April 16 by the Director General (DG) and Inspector General of Police (IG) in accordance with the Court’s previous order opining that every participant of a rally should pay fine and not just the organizer.
The Court expressed hope that persons who are at the helm of affairs will ensure that all rules on social distancing and wearing of masks are followed.
Last week, the Court had observed that the right to lead a healthy life is a facet of Article 21 of the Constitution and cannot be obstructed by few people who refuse to wear face masks or maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.