The Bombay high court on Thursday expressed serious concern over Indians returning from African countries where the Ebola virus has spread like an epidemic. The court has asked the state and the Union governments to inform on September 2 the steps taken by them to avoid spread of the virus in India.
A division bench of justices Abhay Oka and Girish Kulkarni said: "Look at the material available about information on the epidemic. What steps have you taken to prevent this from happening here? Till the passenger comes out of the airport, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is frisking him, but if he has to be moved to a quarantine area, then he will be the state government's responsibility."
Appearing for the Centre, counsel Rui Rodriguez said, "Some measures have been taken by the government, but we are yet to get instructions. Considering the seriousness of the issue, we shall place the details before the court soon."
Appearing for the state government, advocate Molina Thakhur voiced similar concerns. Both counsels sought time till September 2.
The court granted them time while hearing a public interest litigation filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar. The petition has sought a direction to the Union home ministry to issue a notice to the Mumbai international airport to prevent passengers arriving from West African countries from alighting from the aircraft.
The petitioner pleaded that India was not equipped to prevent spread of the virus. It said the US and South Asia had banned alighting of passengers from West African nations on their territories and India was lagging behind in this regard.