Chhattisgarh HC Orders Tracking Down of Tablighi Jamaat Attendees

The Chhattisgarh High Court has ordered the state to initiate ‘intensive search operations’ to track down the people who returned from Tablighi Jamaat. People from all over the world attend the congregation in the Nizamuddin area in New Delhi. People who attended the Jamaat have reportedly spread the virus in their communities.

The court while hearing a bunch of petitions relating to COVID-19, observed that a total of 159 individuals had returned to Chhattisgarh from Tablighi Jamaat, out of which 52 such individuals haven’t been identified. Further, medical reports of only 87 had been received, from a total of 107 identified individuals. The High Court ordered the state government to initiate intensive search operation to locate the remaining 52 persons who have attended the congregation and to forthwith obtain reports of 23 persons whose samples have been taken but the reports are awaited. The bench was headed by Justices Prashant Kumar Mishra and Goutam Bhaduri.

The court has asked the Advocate General to file status reports, addressing the following issues:

  1. Measures taken for welfare, particularly supply of food, to persons who do not hold ration cards.
  2. Issues arising out of the Government’s decision to allow such MNREGA works that do not necessitate the congregation of individuals in one place.
  3. Police atrocities during maintenance of law and order amid the lock-down.
  4. Release of children and women lodged in jails.

The Bench has given two weeks time to the Advocate General for filing the status reports on the issues raised in each of the petitions. The court directed the Assistant Solicitor General to file his response together with the orders passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on related issues so that conflicting orders are not passed by the Chhattisgarh High Court. The status reports have to be provided by April 13, 2020.