The Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up the Aam Aadmi Party government for relaxing the norms of public gathering and movement in the Capital even when there is a surge in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, The Indian Express reported.

The court noted that the number of guests allowed at a marriage ceremony has been increased from 100 to 200. It added that the government has also permitted public transport to be fully occupied.

The division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad also directed the Delhi government to file a status report on the steps it has taken in the last two weeks to control the spread of the infection in the Capital. The court has asked the government to submit the report on or before November 18.

The bench said the Delhi government cannot remain oblivious to the Covid-19 situation and it should deal hands-on with the matter. It asked if the government had any strategy in place to tackle the coronavirus situation in the Capital.

“The daily rates are mind-boggling,” the court said. “What has the Delhi government done? Particularly when you’ve taken decisions to unlock in every which manner. We’re concerned not just as a court but as citizens. Numbers have shot up through the ceiling.”

The court observed that almost “no household has remained untouched by the Covid-19” and said that it would have expected the government to take corrective steps to contain the situation but they instead relaxed the norms.

“The swarming streets of Delhi show an alarming situation where all caution has been thrown to the wind during this festive season and the public is out in uncontrollable numbers which itself would become a cause for further infections,” said the court.

The court pointed to the last sero survey in which antibodies were detected in 25% of the Capital’s population, The Hindu reported. This meant that one in four persons were infected. It said that Delhi was beating the state of Maharashtra and Kerala in the tally of Covid-19 infections in the past couple of weeks.

The bench further said that it was one thing for the government to claim that masks should be considered as a vaccine and another thing to say how it proposes to implement such a statement. The situation has well-surpassed advisories, it added.

“If the Delhi government is serious about implementing its policy or strategy for containing the infection, this court would have thought that by now there would have been some sanctions through appropriate legislation for enforcing the wearing of masks in public spaces.”

— Delhi High Court

Delhi has so far reported 4,51,382 Covid-19 cases and the toll stood at 7,143, the Union health ministry data showed. On November 10, the Capital recorded its highest single-day increase in cases with 7,830 new infections in 24 hours. This was the third time the daily record of coronavirus cases in Delhi breached the 7,000-mark – the first was on November 6 and then again on November 8.

On November 4, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that the rise in Covid-19 cases in the Capital can be called the third wave of infections. “We are monitoring the situation, and will take all necessary actions,” he had said.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain too had claimed the Capital has hit the peak of the third wave of Covid-19, and the number of cases suggests “it has been the worst so far”.