The Supreme Court today raised the issue of violation of COVID-19 guidelines across the country and asked the state and central governments to make suggestions by Monday on their strict implementation.
"It has been brought to our notice that guidelines on wearing masks and social distancing were not followed in almost all states…it has been pointed out that despite stringent fine on violators, the desired results were not achieved," the top court said.
Public, political, religious, and ceremonial gatherings were ignoring social distancing and the need for mask, it said.
"Also, there is no appropriate mechanism to check these violations," the court said.
These observations were made by the same bench that, earlier in the day, had heard the Gujarat government's appeal against a High Court order to punish those not wearing masks in public by asking them to perform community service in COVID-19 wards of hospitals.
During that earlier hearing, too, the court had observed that those who didn't follow the Centre's guidelines were violating others' fundamental rights. "Merely increasing the fine for not wearing mask in public is not enough. Implementation of guidelines is the problem...There is a lapse somewhere," it had said.
While it stayed the High Court order on community service, it ordered the state to ensure strict implementation of the Centre's protocols in Gujarat.
Later, it said, "It has been brought to our notice that guidelines on wearing masks and social distancing were not being followed in almost all states…it has been pointed out that despite stringent fine on violators, the desired results were not achieved."
The court also took up issues related to specific states and their unique COVID-19 situations.
For instance, it sought a plan to control election campaign meetings in Assam, where legislative polls are due in April. Similarly it sought a status report from Himachal Pradesh on the lack of oxygen cylinders and beds in COVID hospitals.