On April 19, the Allahabad High Court issued a list of strict restrictions in five UP cities – Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar, and Gorakhpur till April 26. A bench comprising of Justice Ajit Kumar and Justice Siddhartha Varma were not pleased with the surge in Covid-19 cases. The court said that the Chief Minister of the state is in isolation and called it a difficult situation for the state. ACS Information, Navneet Sehgal said, “UP Government will not impose a complete lockdown in the cities but impose strict restrictions. The UP Government is submitting its reply before the Court on its observations.”
UP Government will not impose a complete lockdown in the cities but impose strict restrictions. The UP Government is submitting its reply before the Court on its observations: ACS- Information, Navneet Sehgal— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 19, 2021
What the Allahabad Court had said
In its order [PDF], the court said, “We find from the scenario that emerges from the Government Hospitals that admission of patients to ICUs are largely being done on the recommendation of VIPs. Even supply of the life-saving antiviral drug, namely Remdesivire is being provided only on the recommendation of VIPs. Even the Chief Minister of the State is in isolation in Lucknow.”
The pandemic is teasing the system – Allahabad High Court
The court said, “It appears that the pandemic is teasing the system in a situation where patients have outnumbered the hospital beds, and people are just running from pillar to post and in this process attendants of patients are not only getting infected, but others in public are also getting infected, and a complete chain has got formed.”
The court further added that the lack of development in medical infrastructure is visible as the public health system is not able to meet the challenges, and people are dying while waiting for proper medication. “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 court said.
The court said that it understands there is a political compulsion that is prohibiting the state from imposing a complete lockdown. Thus, the court had to step in. “We can’t shirk away from our constitutional duty to save innocent people from the pandemic which is spreading due to the negligence of a few,” the court said.
The state is increasing beds, but they might not be sufficient
The court noticed that the state government is working extensively in increasing the number of ICU beds and establishing make-shift Covid centres. But considering the population in the state, the court feared that these beds might not be sufficient even if only 10% of the population gets infected.
Restrictions imposed by the court
The court has directed the state authorities to impose strict restrictions in the cities of Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur and Gorakhpur till April 26.
- During the lockdown, government or private establishments except for financial institutions and financial departments, medical and health services, industrial and scientific establishments, essential services including municipal functions, and public transport, shall remain closed.
- The shopping complexes, grocery shops, commercial shops and malls where there are more than three workers, excluding medical shops, shall remain closed.
- All hotels, restaurants and small eating points on thelas shall remain closed.
- Educational institutes and other institutes institutions relating to other disciplines and activities, be it government, semi-government or private, shall remain closed, including for their teachers and instructors and other staff.
- No social functions or gatherings allowed in these five cities. If there is already a marriage fixed in this period, permission from the District Magistrate of the concerned district needs to be taken. Only 25 persons will be allowed to attend the marriage.
- Religious establishments to remain closed and religious activities in public suspended till April 26.
- All hawkers, including milk vendors, fruits and vegetable vendors etc., shall go off-road by 11 AM.
- Every day containment zones to be notified in two leading Hindi and English newspapers having wide circulation in the districts of Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar/ Dehat and Gorakhpur.
- Public movements on roads to be restricted. Movement to be allowed only for medical help and emergencies.
The court further said, “In this order, if we have not imposed a lockdown, it does not mean that we do not believe in it. We are still of the view that if we want to break the chain, a lockdown for a duration of at least two weeks is a must,” and urged the state to consider imposing a complete lockdown in the whole state two weeks.