The Supreme Court on 20 April stayed the Allahabad high court order imposing Covid-19 curbs in five cities in Uttar Pradesh – Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar, and Gorakhpur – till 26 April. While hearing the matter on Tuesday this day, the Supreme Court also asked the Yogi Adityanath-led state government to submit before the Allahabad High Court within one week its various steps and measures taken to control the coronavirus disease pandemic outbreak. The UP government, earlier this day, moved the Supreme Court against the order that the Allahabad High Court passed on 19 April.
Represented by solicitor general Tushar Mehta, the Uttar Pradesh government mentioned the matter before the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, to which the top court agreed to hear the case.
A day ago, Allahabad High Court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to close all establishments, private or government-run, in five of its most populous cities — Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur. The court also slammed the state government for “not planning” for a second wave of the pandemic and criticised the state election commission for holding the panchayat elections at this time and “exposing” poll officials to the threat of the virus.
A two-judge bench comprising justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar had passed the lockdown order on a PIL on the condition of quarantine centres in the state and treatment of coronavirus patients.
The state has witnessed a spurt in coronavirus cases over the past few weeks.
The Uttar Pradesh government has already announced a lockdown across the state on all Sundays till 15 May. Only sanitation, sanitisation and emergency services will operate during this period.
The government has said that those caught for the second time not wearing a mask will be fined Rs 10,000. The first time fine for not wearing a mask has been doubled to Rs 1,000 and officials have been directed to run a special campaign for sanitisation across the state.