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The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Allahabad High Court order that asked the Uttar Pradesh government to impose partial lockdown till April 26 in five major cities amid surge in Covid cases. However, it asked the state to report to the HC within a week on the steps being taken so far to curb the spread of virus in the state.
While the HC had ordered a lockdown till April 26 in Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Kanpur and Gorakhpur, the Yogi Adityanath-led government had refused to enforce it on Monday evening and moved the Supreme Court seeking stay on the HC directions. The state government had said such a lockdown was not needed and it had to protect both lives and livelihoods.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state, to remove the HC as a party in the case and amend the petition accordingly.
The apex court, while granting interim stay on the HC order, appointed senior advocate PS Narasimha as amicus curiae to assist in the matter and posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.
Mehta told the Bench that the state has taken several steps to contain the spread of virus but to impose “lockdown in five cities by a judicial order may not be the right approach” and the HC order would create immense administrative difficulties.
He further argued said the state government has taken adequate precaution to tackle the surge in cases.
The HC on Monday had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to ban social gatherings, and religious activities and also impose strict restrictions, including closing of malls, shopping complexes and restaurants, till April 26 in five cities, but stopped short of calling it a “complete lockdown”. It had also said that the pandemic had “virtually incapacitated our medical infrastructure…especially in cities like Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur and Gorakhpur”.
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