MP HC | M.P. Government’s Order prohibiting disclosure of identity of Covid-19 positive patients, upheld

Madhya Pradesh High Court: While deciding the instant matter wherein the petitioner sought the quashment of order dated 19-5-2020 issued by the Health Commissioner, Government of Madhya Pradesh prohibiting the disclosure of identity of Covid-19 positive patients, the Division Bench of Sanjay Yadav and Vishal Dhagat, JJ., upheld the Government Order, terming it to be in sync with the larger public interest. The Court further observed that the Order not only seeks to prevent any rampant chaos in the society, it also seeks to protect the Covid-19 patients from suffering social stigma and public wrath.

The State Government issued the aforementioned Order in line with the Advisory issued by the Central Government that urged the people from spreading misleading news related to the pandemic and highlighted the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ for the citizens at large. The Advisory strictly cautioned the citizens against sharing unverified news on social media; refraining from labelling any community or area for spread of COVID-19 and refraining from targeting frontline ‘COVID Warriors’ like doctors, police and sanitary workers etc.

Perusing the contents of the Advisory and the State Government Order in question, the Court dismissed the petition observing that there is no merit in the instant PIL and the relief sought by the petitioner in the form of quashment the Government Order, runs contrary to the public interest. [Nagrik Upbhokta Margdarshak Manch v. State of M.P., 2020 SCC OnLine MP 1078, decided on 28-05-2020] 

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