Courts Update Treat plea seeking proper ventilation of closed spaces to...

Treat plea seeking proper ventilation of closed spaces to prevent Covid-19 as representation: Delhi HC tells authorities

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New Delhi Aug 5(ILNS): The Delhi High Court today told the authorities to treat as representation, a petition highlighting the role played by improper dilution and ventilation in airborne infection in built spaces.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh passed the direction on a plea emphasizing the need to put on preventive methodologies in the in-built environment, so as to make these spaces immune to the spread of infection.

Advocate K.C. Mittal, representing the petitioner, submitted that in closed buildings, the Covid-19 virus spreads rapidly and centralized air-conditioning further aggravates the issue.

The Bench was of the view that the grievance of the petitioner relates to taking proper and appropriate measures in closed areas to reduce the presence of biological contaminants in the air, and the same requires observations and suggestions by an expert body.

The Bench orally remarked that an expert team was also called in the High Court for inspection of the Delhi High Court Complex and on the suggestions of the said body, necessary changes were made in the building.

The Bench disposed of the petition while directing the concerned authorities to treat the petition as representation and decide it in accordance with law, rules, regulations, and government policies applicable to the facts of the case, as expeditiously as possible, keeping in mind the present situation.

The petition was filed by one Raja Singh, a research scholar working in the area of airborne infection spread and the role played by ventilation in containing the spread, through Advocates Yugansh Mittal and Amit Prakash Shahi.

The plea sought directions for appropriate measures, enabling proper dilution and ventilation of air in built environments, keeping in view the presence of biological contaminants in the air.

The petitioner claimed that during his research work, he came to know about the worsening quality of air due to biological contaminants and improper dilution and ventilation of air is built spaces such as houses and offices as also transportation means, such as air-conditioned buses, trains, and other modes of transport.

The petition highlighted that an application was filed before the Delhi High Court in April 2020, raising concern about the usage of central air-conditioning in the High Court Complex in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since there was no conclusive evidence at that time, on the spread of the virus through the air, the Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar, vide order dated May 1, 2020, disposed of the application on the ground that no mathematical solution to the problem of air contamination is possible, while observing that a Special Committee has already been constituted to look into the issue. But later on in July 2020, the World Health Organisation stated in a report that COVID-19 also spreads through the airborne route.
The petitioner filed several applications before the concerned authorities highlighting the issue, however, no concrete response has been received yet.
The plea states: “The scientists have warned about a future pandemic which would be more disastrous and destructive than the Covid-19 and will spray through air. The dilution ventilation diffuses the concentration of the droplets as such minimizing the probability of infection. It is stated that the dilution of air is easiest in the open air and becomes an issue requiring intervention in the indoor spaces.”/ILNS/KR/SV/SNG

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