The Delhi High Court on Wednesday ruled that wearing a mask is compulsory even if a person is driving alone in his/her private vehicle.
Passing the order, Justice Pratibha M Singh also rejected petitions disputing the Delhi government's decision to enforce challans for not wearing a facemask while driving a private vehicle alone.
Delhi HC noted that wearing masks in Delhi was mandatory for everyone. "Wearing of a mask therein would be compulsory in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic," the court ruled, adding that face masks are necessary irrespective of whether a person is vaccinated or not.
It further observed that a mask is like a "suraksha kavach" (Safety armour) during the prevailing pandemic, which has infected over 1.28 crore people in India.
"The wearing of a mask is like a ''suraksha kavach'' to prevent the spread of COVID-19," the court said, noting that a mask protects the person wearing it and also those exposed to him or her.
Justice Singh's ruling and observations came while dismissing four petitions by lawyers who challenged the imposition of 'challans' for not wearing a mask while driving alone in a private vehicle.
The wearing of a face mask was "one measure which saved millions of lives" during the pandemic, the court pointed out.
Being lawyers and advocates, the petitioners "ought to recognise and assist in the implementation of the measures for curtailing the spread of the pandemic, instead of questioning the legality of the same," it said.
Compliance with the measures by lawyers would encourage the general public to also comply with the same.
During the proceedings, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, represented by advocate Farman Ali Magray, had told the court that it had not issued any direction asking people to wear masks in a car when they are alone.
The ministry said health is a state subject and the Delhi government has to take a decision on it.
The Delhi government had told the court that wearing masks while driving an official or personal vehicle was made compulsory through an office order in April last year and it remained in force.
It also said a private vehicle was held to be a public place by the Supreme Court.
(With inputs from PTI.)