Consider imposing night curfew to check gatherings: Allahabad HC to UP govt amid rising COVID cases

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Allahabad, Apr 6 (PTI) Expressing concern over the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday asked the state government to examine the viability of imposing a night curfew to check late evening social gatherings.

A two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Siddhartha Varma passed the direction while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on COVID-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh.

'Though the state government has taken necessary steps to meet the threat of the second wave of COVID-19, it is noticed that the directions given by the state have not been complied with by the public at large and that is an issue of concern,' the bench observed.

'We deem it appropriate to direct the district magistrates of all districts in the state of Uttar Pradesh to ensure strict and definite compliance of the directions issued by the government of Uttar Pradesh from time to time to meet the threat of COVID-19,' it said.

The court asked district administrations, including police authorities to ensure that everyone wears a mask. The director general of police should chalk out a plan at his level for this purpose.

'District administration including police authorities should see that no crowding takes place at any place all over the state of UP. If it finds that any particular place is likely to get crowded, then it should cordon off that area and see that people do not huddle,' it said.

On the upcoming panchayat polls, the bench said they should be conducted in such a manner that no congregation of people takes place. Be it nomination, canvassing or voting, it should be seen that all COVID-19 protocols are observed.

'In addition to the above directions, we deem it appropriate to ask the state government to check the viability of vaccination for one and all and not just for citizens above the age of 45. The government should check the viability of inoculating such students who are to appear in the Uttar Pradesh high school and intermediate examinations. In fact, a door-to-door vaccination programme should be chalked out,' it said.

'The state government may also examine the viability of providing masks and sanitisers to one by utilising the amount recovered on account of violation of COVID-19 protocols. The general public should also realise its responsibility towards the COVID-19 protocol,' it added.

The court has fixed April 8 for the next hearing of the PIL through videoconferencing.

Over the last few days, there has been an upswing in the number of COVID-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh. The state recorded a daily rise of 5,928 cases on Tuesday, 4,164 on Sunday, and 3,290 on Saturday, according to official data. PTI RAJ DIV DIV