The Supreme Court today granted an interim stay on the Allahabad High Court order calling for a lockdown in the State of Uttar Pradesh on account of the COVID-19 situation.
The Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notice in the appeal filed by the Uttar Pradesh government returnable in two weeks.
The Court, however, made it clear that the UP government has to report back to the High Court on the steps taken by it to deal with pandemic situation.
The directions of the High Court calling for a lockdown in five cities of Uttar Pradesh have been stayed.
Senior Advocate PS Narasimha has been appointed as Amicus Curiae to assist the Court in the matter.
Mentioning the matter for the Uttar Pradesh government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta today told the Court,
“…We have done a lot of things and many things have to be done. We are not going into merits but please allow circulation today since five cities are involved.”
When the matter was taken up for hearing at around 12:30 pm, SG Mehta submitted that lockdown in the five cities by judicial orders may not be the correct approach.
The Court ultimately decided to grant an interim stay on the High Court’s directions to the State government.
“In these circumstances, there shall be an interim stay on the judgment of the High Court. However, the Uttar Pradesh government shall immediately inform the High Court of steps it has taken and to be taken in future,” CJI Bobde ordered.
The State government is required to inform the High Court of the steps taken to address the pandemic situation within two weeks.
Following yesterday’s order passed by the Allahabad High Court imposing a near total lockdown in five cities of Uttar Pradesh, the State government today approached the Supreme Court in appeal.
The Allahabad High Court had on Monday taken a dim view of the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic situation in UP and proceeded to issue a slew of directions virtually amounting to a lockdown in five cities of the State till April 26.
“Those in the helm of affairs of governance are to be blamed for the present chaotic health problems and more so when there is a democracy which means a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” the order passed by a Bench of Justices Ajit Kumar and Siddhartha Varma stated.
The UP government, however, made it clear that it would not implement a lockdown in the State.