The Allahabad High Court on Monday directed Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government to close all establishments in cities like Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur and Gorakhpur till April 26 in the wake of worrisome surge in the number of Covid-19 cases across the state.
Coming down heavily on the Yogi Adityanath government for its handling of coronavirus situation in Uttar Pradesh, the High Court said, “If popular government has its own political compulsions in not checking public movements during this pandemic, we can not remain mere passive spectators. Public health is the top most priority and call of the moment and any complacency of any degree today will cause havoc to people. 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.”
In its hard-hitting order, the high court bench also slammed the “VVIP culture”. “If things are not arrested to give some respite to medical and paramedical staff, the entire system would collapse and relief will be confined to VIPs and VVIPs,” it said.
The High Court has issued a slew of directions and directed the state government to strictly enforce them in respect of cities such as Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur. These are:
1. All establishments be it government or private, except financial institutions and financial departments, medical and health services, industrial and scientific establishments, essential services including municipal functions, and public transport, shall remain closed till April 26. The judiciary will, however, function on its own discretion. 2. All shopping complexes and malls shall remain closed till April 26. 3. All grocery shops and other commercial shops excluding medical shops, with more than three workers shall remain closed till April 26. 4. All hotels, restaurants and even the small eating points on thelas etc. shall remain closed till April 26. 5. All institutions like educational institutions and other 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 till April 26 (this direction is for the whole of Uttar Pradesh). 6. No social functions and gatherings including marriage functions shall be permitted till April 26. However, in case of already fixed marriages a necessary further permission would have to be taken from the District Magistrate of the concerned district, gatherings would be limited to 25 persons and the district magistrate concerned shall take decision after giving due consideration to the prevailing situation of the impact of Covid-19 including notification of containment zones in the area where such marriage has to take place. 7. All religious activities in public of any kind is directed to remain suspended till April 26. 8. All religious establishments of any kind are directed to remain closed till April 26. 9. All hawkers including fruits and vegetable vendors, milk vendors and bread vendors, shall go off the road by 11 am every day till April 26. 10. Containment zones shall be notified every day in two leading Hindi and English newspapers having wide circulation in the districts of Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar/Dehat and Gorakhpur. 11. All public movements on roads would remain restricted completely, subject to above directions. Movements would be only allowed in case of medical help and emergencies. 12. The High Court directed the State Government to go robust for implementing the current vaccination programme.
“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 life saving anti-viral drug namely Remdesivir is being provided only on the recommendation of VIPs. VIPs and VVIPs are getting their RT-PCR report within 12 hours, whereas, ordinary citizen is kept waiting for such reports for two to three days and thus, spreading further infection to other members of his/her family. We cannot lose site of a fact that large number of doctors of King George Hospital and other hospitals like Swaroop Rani Nehru Medical Hospital have gone into isolation after being tested Covid-19 positive. Even the Chief Minister of the State is in isolation in Lucknow,” the court said.