The Supreme Court on Tuesday put an interim stay on the Allahabad High Court order imposing a lockdown in five cities of Uttar Pradesh in view of the worsening coronavirus situation, reported Bar & Bench.
The Allahabad High Court had ordered to enforce lockdown in Lucknow, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Kanpur and Gorakhpur till April 26. However, the Uttar Pradesh government refused to implement the order and moved the Supreme Court against it.
A bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian also told the state government to report to the Allahabad High Court on the steps it has taken to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. It also asked the government to inform the High Court about the measures it will take within one week.
Appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the state can report to the Supreme Court about the steps it has taken. However, the Supreme Court declined the suggestion.
“This way we will entertain litigation all across the country about statewide lockdowns,” Justice Bobde said.
The solicitor general told the court that a blanket lockdown will create administrative difficulties. Mehta said that the Uttar Pradesh government has issued several directions to contain the spread of the disease and was also taking adequate precautions. He added that a judicial order may not be the right approach.
The court took note of Mehta’s submissions and listed the matter after two weeks. It also appointed senior advocate PS Narasimha as an amicus curiae to assist in the case.
On Monday, the Allahabad High Court had rebuked the state government for its lack of response to deal with the pandemic, saying that the medical system may collapse if immediate steps were not taken. The court noted that Chief Minister Adityanath was in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 and that only certain patients were being given priority for treatment in the state.
The court also said that if a “popular government has its own political compulsions” in failing to curb public movement then the court could not remain a mere spectator. The health of the public was the priority and any complacency would bring “havoc to people”.
However, the UP government refused to implement the order, saying that along with saving lives, the livelihood of the poor has to be saved. The state administration also said that the residents of the state were “shutting down many places willingly”.
On Monday, Uttar Pradesh recorded 28,287 Covid-19 cases, pushing the infection tally in the state to 8,79,831 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020, reported the Hindustan Times. The state registered 167 deaths, its highest daily fatality count so far, to reach 9,997.