New Delhi [India], April 20 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted an interim stay on the Allahabad High Court order directing the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict restrictions till April 26 in five cities in view of the COVID-19 surge.
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.
"We stay the order (Allahabad High Court's)," a three-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde and also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said.
The bench of the Apex Court in its order also asked the state of Uttar Pradesh to submit before the state HC its various steps, measures are taken, to control the Covid pandemic within a week.
The CJI Bobde also appointed a senior lawyer, and former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P S Narsimha, as an Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) to assist the court in the matter.
During the course of the hearing, the Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, a senior lawyer appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, submitted to the apex court that several steps have been taken, and a slew of directions was issued by the state and it has already taken many measures but lockdown in five cities by judicial orders may not be the right approach in the case.
The blanket lockdown imposed by the Allahabad High Court in its yesterday's order, in these five cities, in the state, in terms of the impugned order, could create immense administrative difficulties would be as very rigorous as lockdown, Mehta said.
He also sought an apology for making the High Court as respondents, in the case, to which, the Apex Court allowed his prayer.
Initially, during the day, in the morning, when the CJI Bobde bench, sat for the day, the SG Mehta, mentioned the matter before the apex court and immediately sought an urgent hearing in the case to which, the top court agreed to hear it and said, we will take up the matter at the end of the board.
The Uttar Pradesh Government had moved the apex court and challenged the Allahabad High Court order on imposing lockdown in its five cities.
Mehta mentioned the matter before the apex court bench, led by the CJI Bobde on the ground that the State High Court did not have the domain to issue such kind of directions.
"Complete lockdown was imposed for a week in many cities (five Cities) in UP," the SG Mehta submitted to the top court today.
Considering the urgency in the matter, please consider it for hearing today, Mehta said.
Earlier last week, the Allahabad High Court had directed the Uttar Pradesh Government to consider imposing a complete lockdown in the most affected districts along with ramping up tracking, testing and treatment facilities.
The Uttar Pradesh Government has already announced restrictions on gatherings of five or more people in religious places for effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic during Navratri and Ramzan.
Uttar Pradesh has recorded 18,021 new COVID19 cases in the last 24 hours, the state health department informed on Tuesday. (ANI)