The Supreme Court on Tuesday criticised the practice of government authorities putting up posters outside the residence of coronavirus patients, saying that it leads to stigmatisation as these people are treated as “untouchables”, PTI reported.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah made the observations. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, told the court that they have not prescribed this rule to state governments. Mehta, however, said that the practice of pasting posters is aimed at protecting other people, and not to stigmatise patients suffering from the coronavirus.

Shah said that the ground reality is “something different” and most times patients are treated as “untouchables”.

Mehta said the Centre has filed its affidavit in the case after the Supreme Court had asked it to consider nationwide guidelines to not affix such warning posters. The solicitor general said the posters are meant to ensure that nobody inadvertently enters the house of a Covid-19 patient.

On November 5, the judges questioned why the Centre cannot frame guidelines, pointing out that the Delhi government had agreed to stop this practice.

A petition was filed before the Supreme Court, saying that coronavirus positive persons “ought to be given privacy to cope with and recover from the illness in peace and away from prying eyes”. It also said that circulating names of those who have tested positive for the infection will lead to stigmatisation and draw unnecessary attention.

The judges asked the petitioner to respond to the Centre’s affidavit and the matter will be heard next on December 3.