The Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed a writ of Habeas Corpus filed before it. The petition was filed in the case of Mustak Hussain & Anr. v. State of Haryana & Ors. The petition sought the release of two residents of Assam and Bihar respectively. Both of them had been quarantined in Haryana by the authorities due to COVID-19 pandemic. The court held that lodging a person in quarantine does not amount to”illegal confinement”. In effect, the petition stood “not maintainable”. The Haryana Police apprehended the petitioners from a mosque in Palwal District. There were several Bangladeshi nationals belonging to Tablighi Jammat with them. Accordingly, they were booked under relevant provisions of Indian Penal Code, the Foriegners Act, the Disaster Management Act and the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Contentions by the Petitioner
The petitioners moved to the High Court filing a writ of Habeas Corpus. Section 226 of the Indian Penal Code empowers an individual to file a writ. Petitioners argued that they have been granted bail earlier. Being that, lodging in quarantine centres amounts to illegal detention. Also, the petitioners tested negative for COVID-19. Hence, they were entitled to be released.
High Court’s Take
The court observed that since petitioners were quarantined after obtaining the opinion of medical authorities; the court cannot interfere in the matter. Furthermore, the entire country is under lockdown. In such circumstances, no transport facility is available to send them back to their respective states. Also, the centre where petitioners are quarantined is one of the hotspots. Therefore, to avoid the spread of COVID-19 lodging in quarantines homes, for the time being, cannot be said to be illegal. Adding to it, lodging of people in quarantine homes for their safety cannot be illegal. Accordingly, the court dismissed the petition.