New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Delhi High Court on Thursday lambasted the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government over the ballooning of coronavirus cases in the national capital from past few weeks. Criticising the late reaction from the government to ramp up the restrictive measures, the High Court asked the Delhi government if it could explain to those who lost their lives to COVID-19 in the last 18 days why the administration did not take steps when cases were spiralling in the city.

The court also asked the government to look at the situation with a magnifying glass. "You were shaken out of slumber, you turned turtle after we asked questions", the High Court remarked.  

"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 make 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 court added.

An HC bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad asked why the government waited till the court intervened to take steps such as reducing the number of people attending weddings. 

"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?", the court said.

The court further noted that the quantum of fine for not wearing face masks and not maintaining social distancing in public places does not appear to be a deterrent for the Delhi government. 

"The quantum of fine for not wearing masks, not maintaining social distancing does not appear to be a deterrent", the court said. 

The court also said that there appears to be a large amount of disparity in monitoring and imposition of fines in some districts and also said that Delhi has crossed cities like New York and Sao Paolo in coronavirus infections due to the late and sluggish response by the AAP government. 

“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's criticism came on the day when Delhi recorded its highest number of single-day deaths due to the coronavirus. The national capital during the last 24 hours recorded 131 fatalities taking the overall death toll near 8,000, while the COVID-19 caseload in Delhi crossed the 5-lakh mark with over 7,500 new cases.

The Delhi government, meanwhile, on Wednesday reduced the number of attendees in marriage functions to 50 from 200 in wake of the rising coronavirus cases in the city. The government has also proposed the Centre to shut those markets which are emerging as COVID-19 hotspots.    

Posted By: Talib Khan