India is set to go the way of other countries where a law that requires people to wear a mask to protect their identity has become a common practice, with the Supreme Court of India saying that the state has not shown that the law is discriminatory.
The case has come to light following a complaint by an elderly woman, who claimed she was being discriminated against because she was wearing a mask when she was stopped and questioned by police for “mischief” and other minor offences.
The woman, named in the court’s judgment, claimed she had been wearing a face mask while riding her motorcycle on the night of December 20, 2013, after a friend’s son was killed by a stray bullet.
“The officer asked her if she was dressed as a woman or a man, and then asked if she had a mask.
When she replied that she had no mask, the officer then asked her to remove her mask and asked her why she was covered up,” the judgment said.
While wearing a facial mask, “the woman was also asked for her name, address and mobile number.
When the woman replied that her address was a private residence and her mobile number was registered with the Department of Telecommunications, she was then asked why she had not taken the mask off,” the judgement said.
The woman said she had gone out to the motorbike in the evening, “and on her way back to her house, she became aware that the motorcycle was being followed by a man who was a passenger on the motorcyclist.
The rider was also following her and allegedly made a verbal insult towards her and her friend.
The victim said she did not understand what was happening to her and that she was frightened of the motorcycle.”
The woman claimed that she confronted the motorcycle rider about his alleged insult towards the woman and was allegedly accosted by the rider and another man on the motorcycle, and was asked for his mobile number and name.
The women said the rider then threatened them, and that he took their mobile phones and told them that if they did not leave the motorbikes, they would be attacked.
“The woman’s friend had to run for his life.
She was seriously injured and lost her eyesight.
She has not recovered,” the court said.
The court said the woman had been treated for a broken wrist and bruises on her face, arms and legs.
This is not the first time that a law has been used to protect the identity of individuals, and the Supreme Courts of India is also expected to issue a judgement on the case, which was filed in 2012.
The Kerala High Court on February 28 said that it has ordered that the woman, identified as A, be taken to a hospital in Chennai for treatment, but a decision is awaited from the Kerala police and the court.
The case will be heard by a bench of Justice D.M. Ramakrishnan and Justice N.N. Pandey, and will be referred to the Supreme court.