The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked Delhi's AAP government if it could explain to those who had lost their near and dear ones to COVID-19 in the last 18 days why the administration did not take steps when cases were spiralling in the city. It also asked the government to look at the situation with a "magnifying glass".
Pulling up the Delhi government, a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad asked why it waited till the court intervened to take steps such as reducing the number of people attending weddings to 50 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"You (Delhi government) saw from November 1 which way the wind was blowing. But you turn turtle now because we asked you some questions. The bell should have rung loud and clear when the numbers were spiralling. Why did you not wake up when you saw the situation was deteriorating?
"Why did we have to shake you out of your slumber on November 11? What did you do from November 1 till November 11? Why did you wait 18 days (till November 18) to take a decision. Do you know how many lives were lost during this period? Can you explain it to those who lost their near and dear ones," the bench asked.
On implementation of social distancing norms, prevention of spitting and wearing of masks, the court was not satisfied with the monitoring being done by the Delhi government in some districts where COVID-19 numbers were high.
The bench also said the fines being imposed — Rs 500 for first violation and Rs 1,000 for every subsequent violation — did not appear to be a deterrent.
It said there appeared to be substantial disparity in monitoring and imposition of fines in certain districts as compared to others.
"What kind of monitoring and marshalling are you doing? Look at the situation seriously with a magnifying glass. You have crossed cities like New York and Sao Paolo," the court said.
The high court was hearing a PIL by advocate Rakesh Malhotra seeking increase in the COVID-19 testing numbers in the national capital and getting speedy results.