The Supreme Court has issued an interim order not to stop home delivery of essential commodities.

A joint bench of Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Kumar Chudal on Monday asked stakeholders concerned, including the Prime Minister’s Office and the Office of the Council of Ministers, not to stop home delivery services.

A new ordinance related to COVID-19 control and the prohibitory orders issued in the Kathmandu valley allows only those traders involved in essential services from doing business during the lockdown period.

The court ordered the government to allow e-commerce businesses to provide home delivery mentioned in schedule 1 of the manual related to Home Delivery of Essential Services, 2020, in abidance by the health safety protocols.

In the interim order, the District Administration Office, Kathmandu has been ordered to allow home delivery services in accordance with the criteria prepared last year.

“Ensuring home delivery services is essential in order to reduce congestion in the market and to create a situation where citizens do not have to go out of their houses as much as possible,” the interim order said.

Unlike last year, the District administration offices of the Kathmandu Valley have been allowing home delivery services only from state-owned Food Management and Trading Company that too until 9:00 am during the prohibitory orders enforced from April 29 and extended thrice till June 14.

The Kathmandu District Administration last year had prepared and implemented criteria to continue home delivery service during the lockdown period.

Home delivery service providers and e-commerce companies had filed lawsuits at the apex court after their services were curtailed this year despite having fixed criteria for delivery.

The criteria made public by the Kathmandu District Administration Office last year requires delivery persons to carry certificates registered with the concerned body for home delivery and to follow health safety protocols like maintaining a distance of at least two meters during delivery.

Similarly, e-commerce websites were required to maintain a price list of all items on their site.

“The service provider must use a mask, wash their hands regularly with soap and water or clean their hands with a sanitizer. Delivery services can be carried out from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm,” the criteria said.

This time too, delivery services are expected to follow the same criteria.

Food items, medicine and pharmaceutical products, baby products, maternal health care products, skin care products, personal hygiene, pet care products, agricultural seeds, equipment and medicines can be availed through home delivery.