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Plea for cautious use of central ACs to prevent COVID-19 spread: HC seeks govt stand

The application was filed in the main petition on air pollution which the Delhi High Court had initiated on its own in 2015 to deal with the poor air quality in the national capital.

Published: 24th April 2020 03:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2020 03:20 PM   |  A+A-

Air conditoners, summers

K C Mittal has contended in his plea that 'the cough, sneeze or tear dispersal of an infected person would be in aerosol form' and the 'same can be picked, ingested and circulated by the central air-conditioning units', like the ones installed in the high court. (File photo | Debdatta Mallick, EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Friday sought response of the Centre and the AAP government here on a plea that no centrally air-conditioned building, including courts, be used without taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the Centre, the Delhi government and the Registrar of the High Court seeking their stand on the application moved by a lawyer -- K C Mittal.

Mittal, also the head of the Bar Council of Delhi, has contended in his plea that "the cough, sneeze or tear dispersal of an infected person would be in aerosol form" and the "same can be picked, ingested and circulated by the central air-conditioning units", like the ones installed in the high court.

He has further contended that while droplet infection can be dealt with by sterilization, once aerosol infection enters the air ducts of the central air-conditioning system, it could potentially infect dozens if not hundreds of persons present in a building.

Central government standing counsel Ajay Digpaul, who appeared for the Central Public Works Department, said it has issued guidelines on April 22 with regard to cleaning and maintenance of AC units and added that same would be placed before the court.

Delhi government additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose and advocate Naman, appearing for the Public Works Department, said it would file a response before the next date of hearing.

The bench asked the Registrar General of the High Court to look into the guidelines issued by CPWD and listed the matter for further hearing on May 1.

The application was filed in the main petition on air pollution which the Delhi High Court had initiated on its own in 2015 to deal with the poor air quality in the national capital.

The court keeps issuing directions in the matter from time to time.

In his application, Mittal has also sought setting up of a committee of experts "to examine the problem and suggest technical solutions thereto, including, but not limited to implanting ultraviolet disinfectant units into the air circulation system of the air conditioning".

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