New Delhi: The Supreme Court granted Tuesday and interim stay on Allahabad High Court’s order directing the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict restrictions till April 26 in five cities amid the COVID-19 surge. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde appointed senior advocate P S Narasimha as amicus curiae to assist it in future hearings in the UP lockdown case. The apex court also took note of the UP government’s submissions that it has taken steps to prevent spread of coronavirus.
Earlier in the day, he Supreme Court agreed to hear Tuesday itself the plea of the Uttar Pradesh government against the Allahabad High Court order. The high court had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict lockdown till April 26 in five cities amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde. Mehta, while referring to the high court’s order passed Monday, said that ‘a virtual lockdown is declared by a judicial order for a week’. He requested the bench to take up the matter during the day saying the matter relates to five big cities of the state. “Ok,” the bench said.
The Allahabad High Court had directed the UP government to impose strict restrictions including closing of malls, shopping complexes and restaurants till April 26 in five cities. However, it stopped short of calling it a ‘complete lockdown’. Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur are the cities in which the high court has directed curbs. The high court had said these curbs are ‘nowhere close to a complete lockdown’.
The UP government had said late Monday night that it is impossible to enforce ‘such restrictions’. It had also said that it would move the Supreme Court against the order of the Allahabad High Court.