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No Lockdown in UP Cities as SC Puts Allahabad HC Order on Hold

The five cities mentioned by the high court were Lucknow, Prayagraj, Kanpur, Varanasi and Gorakhpur.

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 20 April, granted an interim stay on the Allahabad High Court order directing a lockdown in five cities of Uttar Pradesh till 26 April.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde stayed the implementation of the order on an urgent mention made by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, reported LiveLaw.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh government had appealed before the Supreme Court against the order of the Allahabad High Court, saying that it was not within the jurisdiction of the judiciary to order a lockdown.

The five cities mentioned by the high court on Monday were Lucknow, Prayagraj, Kanpur, Varanasi and Gorakhpur. All these cities have been reporting a high patient load.
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After the hearing, the SC posted the matter for hearing after two weeks and also asked the UP government to submit a report on the steps taken by it to control the pandemic.

The apex court also appointed Senior Advocate PS Narasimha as an amicus curiae to assist it in the matter, reported LiveLaw.

However, the same day, Uttar Pradesh Home Department Additional Chief Secretary Awanish K Awasthi announced that the state will now see weekend lockdowns on Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 8 pm on Friday, till 7 am on Monday .

WHAT THE UP GOVT SAID ON TUESDAY

Appearing on behalf of the UP government, the Solicitor General stated that the blanket lockdown in five cities by a judicial order will create “immense administrative difficulties”, but assured the court that the state was doing the needful to contain the pandemic.

Mehta said that "to lock down five cities by judicial order may not be the right approach".

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WHAT THE HC SAID ON MONDAY

A bench of Justices Ajit Kumar and Siddhartha Varma had, on Monday, reprimanded the government for being caught unaware and said, “It is a shame that while the government knew of the magnitude of the second wave it never planned things.”

It added in the order, “If people die of the pandemic in a large number due to paucity of sufficient medical aid it would be the governments to blame which failed to counter the pandemic even after one long year of experience and learning. One would only laugh at us that we have enough to spend on elections and very little to spend on public health.”

WHAT THE GOVT SAID IN RESPONSE

ACS-Information Navneet Sehgal said that the UP government will not be imposing a complete lockdown in the cities, but will impose strict restrictions.

In a statement, the UP government said, "Today in the order of the Hon'ble High Court, the spokesman of the UP government has conveyed that the Corona cases have increased in the state and strictness is necessary for the control of the Corona. Government has taken many steps, strict steps are being taken even further.”

"Along with saving lives, the livelihood of the poor must to be saved. Therefore, there will not be a complete lockdown in the cities. People are automatically shutting down many places willingly," it further said, according to a report by India Today.

(With inputs from India Today and LiveLaw.)

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