New Delhi, April 20, 2021: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Allahabad High Court (HC) order which directed the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict restrictions till April 26 in five cities amid a surge in Covid-19 cases. The Supreme Court has also directed the UP government to immediately report to the high court about the steps it has taken to curb the spread of the infection.
The high court had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict restrictions, including the closing of malls, shopping complexes and restaurants till April 26 in five cities, but stopped short of calling it a "complete lockdown". Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur are the cities in which the high court had directed curbs.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said while the UP government shares the concerns of the high court in the backdrop of escalating Covid-19 cases and that some of the directions issued are necessary, "to impose lockdown on five cities would not be the right approach."
Tushar Mehta also said the state government has issued directions and taken adequate precautions to control the spread of the Covid-19 infection. He further said that the blanket lockdown imposed by the court in five cities would create immense administrative difficulties. "The orders were as rigorous as a lockdown," Tushar Mehta said.
The UP government had moved the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court order directing it to impose strict restrictions in five cities till April 26 amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.
In its petition, the UP government had argued that there’s no empirical data before the Allahabad High Court to compel the government to arrive at a conclusion that "lockdown/total curfew for a week was the only way to break the chain of Covid 19 infection."
"Though the intention behind the impugned order passed by the Hon’ble Division Bench is both laudable and salutary, however, the Hon’ble High Court has completely failed to appreciate that while passing the direction of nature...the Hon’ble High Court has effectively encroached upon the executive domain," the pela said.
It further added that "a lot of remedial steps except curfew/lockdown were already undertaken by the state government to arrest the spread of Covid19 infection".
The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday announced a statewide weekend lockdown to curb the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the state. The weekend lockdown will come into force from April 24.As per the new directive, districts with more than 500 active Covid-19 cases will also remain under night curfew, effective between 8 PM to 7 AM every day, until further orders.