Mumbai: Even civilised people don't follow social distancing norms and other rules to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the Bombay high court remarked on Friday, saying it would be wrong to blame only beggars.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Madhav Jamdar made the observation while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Pune resident Dhyandeshwar Darwatkar.

The petitioner had raised concerns that beggars were not following social distancing norms or rules like wearing masks while approaching people on road.

Darwatkar's advocate Shekar Jagtap told the court that there is an increased risk of COVID-19 spread from these persons as they do not follow any norms.

He further argued that there are several women and small children begging on roads and sought a direction to the Maharashtra government to take appropriate steps to regulate them.

The bench then asked the petitioner to be "sensitive" and said the entire nation is facing difficult times and it was not right for the petitioner to target beggars only.

"Why blame only the beggars? Even civilised people do not follow rules and norms of social distancing," Chief Justice Datta said.

The bench directed the Maharashtra government and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to file its affidavit and posted the petition for further hearing on August 14.

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