The Maharashtra government on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that it would be holding a meeting to review the existing coronavirus-related restrictions in keeping with the latest directives from the Centre over ending all COVID-19 containment measures from March 31.
The Union government on Wednesday issued a letter saying all state governments can consider discontinuing the issue of orders and guidelines under the Disaster Management Act for COVID-19 containment measures. The letter comes in the wake of the continuous dip in coronavirus cases.
However, wearing of face mask and maintaining social distancing norms will continue as earlier. Senior counsel S U Kamdar, appearing for the state government, told a division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik that pursuant to the letter, the state executive committee would hold a meeting and take further decision.
The bench was hearing public interest litigation (PIL) that challenges the Maharashtra government's directive that one must have received both doses of the anti-coronavirus vaccine to travel in Mumbai's suburban trains and use other modes of public transport in the city.
The bench took note of Kamdar's submission and pointed out that the Supreme Court has reserved its orders on a plea of similar nature. The court then adjourned the hearing on the plea till April 5.
The PIL, filed by one Firoze Mithiborwala through advocate Nilesh Ojha, challenged a circular dated March 1, 2022, that was issued by the Maharashtra government to list out the standard operating procedures and safety measures citizens must follow in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The restriction on travel on public transport, including local trains, for the unvaccinated was included in the circular.
Mithiborwala said in his PIL that the travel restriction was arbitrary, unconstitutional, and an "indirect attempt" on the Maharashtra government's part to make vaccination compulsory.
With PTI inputs.