Government told not to disclose COVID patients’ address


The Supreme Court has ordered the government not to release the current or permanent address of COVID patients to save them and their kin from stigmatisation.

This was stated in an order passed by a division bench of justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Prakash Kumar Dhungana on August 5 in response to a writ petition filed by advocates Roshani Paudyal and Saroj Krishna Ghimire against the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and others.

The court released the full text of the order today.

The apex court observed that legal and constitutional provisions guarantee people’s right to privacy and releasing details of COVID patients, such as their current and permanent address, would violate those provisions.

The government had started giving current and permanent address of COVID patients after the National Information Commission issued an order to the Ministry of Health and Population on May 19 telling it to make public current and permanent address of COVID patients.

Stating that there was lack of integrated laws to deal with pandemics, the apex court ordered the government to enact a new integrated infectious disease control law, if recommended by a study panel, to address the concerns of high risk groups.

The court said while some foreign countries brought new pandemic laws to deal adequately with the pandemic, Nepal had not done so though Nepal’s Infectious Disease Act-1964 had failed to address multiple aspects of the pandemic.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 5, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.