Yogi Adityanath Govt Welcomes Supreme Court Stay on Lockdown in Five Districts, Says ‘We Have To Think of Livelihoods Too’

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Aimed at saving the livelihood of the poor, Yogi Adityanath- led Uttar Pradesh government has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to put a stay on the Allahabad High Court’s order of imposing lockdown in five districts of the state. Imposing all the restrictions required to keep the surge of COVID-19 cases, the Yogi Government said that apart from saving lives, it had to also think of livelihoods.

The Government said that it had already taken several measures to stop the spread of the virus, such as declaring containment zones where more than five patients infected by coronavirus are found, imposing night curfews, Sunday bandh, and limits on gatherings.

It further said, “The steps will help stop the spread of the deadly virus and as of now there is no requirement of complete lockdown in Uttar Pradesh.” Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath on Fight Against COVID-19: ‘There Will Be No Shortage of Doctors and Paramedics for Coronavirus Treatment in the State’.

A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde stayed the operation of the judgment of Allahabad HC which directed the Yogi Adityanath government to impose a lockdown in five cities - Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Kanpur, and Gorakhpur till April 26 after hearing the arguments of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

The Solicitor General had made an urgent mention of the petition before the CJI on Tuesday morning and requested for hearing of the matter today itself.

"In these circumstances, there shall be an interim stay on the judgment of the High Court. However, the Uttar Pradesh government shall immediately inform the High Court of the steps it has taken and to be taken in future," CJI Bobde ordered.

The Supreme Court, however, made it clear that the UP government has to report back to the High Court on the steps taken by it to deal with the pandemic situation within two weeks. Senior Advocate PS Narasimha has been appointed as Amicus Curiae to assist the Court in the matter.

The Key Points from the SLP submitted by the UP Government Are:

People who roam around in public places without masks can prove to be fatal for themselves as well as society. Therefore, officials have been asked to be strict with such people and society should also be made aware of such careless people. In this regard, the government announced that a first-time offender would be levied a fine of ₹1,000 but thereafter, the individual would have to pay a penalty of up to ₹10,000 every time seen without a mask.

A campaign is being conducted in which the organizations of the Yogi Government are contacting the patients who are in home isolation. Till now, these organizations have reached 19 crore people, out of a total population of 24 crores, and learned about their symptoms. The government also ensured that patients under home isolation are provided a medical kit of at least one week.

The state government is making free arrangements for the migrant workers returning home due to the lockdown in Delhi and Maharashtra. It has also ordered the setting up of quarantine centres for migrant laboureres in every district of the state. These centres will have all the facilities for labourers returning to their home state and testing positive for Covid, including food and beverages along with medical aid. COVID-19 Surge in Uttar Pradesh: Allahabad High Court Orders Lockdown in Lucknow, Prayagraj, Kanpur, Varanasi and Gorakhpur Till April 26.

The Hon'ble High Court has effectively encroached upon the executive domain and has passed a mandamus which is incapable of being executed at the present stage, and if executed, is capable of creating panic, fear, and law and order situation in the State.

The Yogi Government also claimed that the order to ‘impose lockdown’ was the outcome of an ‘irresistible belief’ of the High Court that imposition of lockdown was the only way to break the chain of infection.

There are many strict steps taken by the state government to curb the spread of the virus. In this background, it is stated, "The impugned order which is passed without even considering the steps taken by the petitioner, is therefore liable to be set aside for this reason alone as it not only encroaches upon the executive domain but effectively ventures into the arena of governance by breaching the salutary principles of separation of powers between the judiciary and executive, deserves to be set aside."

The Yogi government, however, making it very clear stated that it would not implement a lockdown in the State. "To impose such drastic measures, the administrative machinery of the State has to be made well equipped at a stage anterior so as to ensure that no panic and fear is spread amongst the public and all the logistical support and supply lines to give either cooked or uncooked food to the needy is established," the Yogi Government stated.