Delhi High Court: Home Quarantine a General Guideline, Not Mandatory

A PIL, filed in the Delhi High Court, challenged the arbitrary and unreasonable calculation of the home quarantine period by the Delhi Government. As specified in the Home Quarantine Guidelines and the COVID-19 Regulations of 2020, Delhi High Court noted that the period of 14 days is optional, but expected to serve as general guidelines.

The Single Bench Justice Hari Shankar noticed that if any person; firstly who does not exhibit COVID19 symptoms; secondly not tested positive for the COVID19 virus; thirdly home quarantined for over 14 days; shall have a right to speak to the authorities against a continued quarantine. Justice Shankar observed that authorities stand bound either to lift the quarantine instantly, or to explain the reason for keeping him in home quarantine for over 14 days; as fast as possible without any undue delay.

The petitioner came in contact with a food delivery person who tested positive for COVID19. The Petitioner acknowledged he has been in home quarantine for over 30 days; despite the fact that the quarantine period is for 14 days. Hence, the petitioner requested the court to quash the Warning Notice issued by the District Magistrate; as being violative of the principles of natural justice and the principle of audi alteram partem

Court’s Observation

However, the court rejected the Petitioner’s claim. With regard to the violation of principles of natural justice. The Bench noted that the District Magistrate’s notice was merely a notice issued under complaints; directing him to abstain from breaching the quarantine imposed on him. The court highlighted “However, all notices, placing persons under home quarantine, have necessarily to indicate the period of home quarantine, as well as the date from which it is to commence“. The court took into consideration the response submitted by the government; which states that there’s a helpline number that the quarantined person can dial during an emergency. Consequently, the Court observed that a quarantined person needs to get in touch with the authorities in case of an emergency.