NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today pronounced a verdict favouring the UP government in regards to the Allahabad High Court order to the state to impose lockdown in five cities. The Yogi Adityanath refused to implement the HC order and challenged it in the apex court.
Considering the severity of the COVID crisis, the High Court had directed the Yogi government to impose lockdown restrictions on Prayagraj, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi and Gorakhpur till April 26.
A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde stayed the operation of the judgment and asked the UP government to report to the Supreme Court within a week on the steps and plans it has taken to tackle the COVID surge.
The Uttar Pradesh government approached the SC arguing that locking down five cities by judicial order "may not be the right approach" and a "blanket lockdown imposed by the High Court in five cities would create immense administrative difficulties."
During the hearing, the UP government told the bench that Allahabad High Court's order infringed upon the state government's domain.
"I share the concern of the court. Several steps have been taken," said Tushar Mehta, representing the UP government, but added that some of what had been ordered by the High Court was already in place.
A division bench comprising Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar of the High Court while ordering the five cities to shut down had said on Monday that the rising Covid cases had "virtually incapacitated" the medical infrastructure in Uttar Pradesh.
But the state government said such a lockdown was not needed and it had to protect both lives and livelihoods.
The High Court had also ordered a ban on social gatherings, religious activities, and said shops, educational institutions and shopping malls should be closed.
On a day, UP reported a record 30,000-plus new cases in 24 hours, the court also ordered the shutting of all businesses barring those offering financial services, medical or health services, industrial and scientific establishments, and those providing essential services.