Amid the Bakrid row in Kerala, the Supre Court on Monday doubled down hard on the state government's decision to relax Covid-19 restrictions for three days on the occasion of Eid-Al-Adha. The apex court termed the relaxations granted by the Pinarayi Vijayan for Bakrid in areas having the highest COVID-19 positivity rate as “wholly uncalled for”.
The Kerala government said it is “vigorously vaccinating” people against COVID-19 and is expected to inoculate at least 60 per cent of its population within two or three months.
The court also rapped the government for bowing down to traders’ pressure by granting relaxations ahead of Bakrid, adding that it showed the “sorry state of affairs”.
The apex court also added that the citizenry of India had been laid bare to the nationwide pandemic by the grant of such relaxations in Kerala.
A bench of justices R F Nariman and B R Gavai said that the citizenry of India has been laid bare to the nationwide pandemic by a grant of such relaxations by the Kerala government.
"We direct the Kerala government to give heed to the Right to Life enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution," the bench said.
The bench was hearing an application that raised the issue of relaxations granted by the Kerala government in view of the Bakrid festival.
It was filed in a matter in which the apex court had last week taken suo motu cognisance of earlier media reports on the Uttar Pradesh government's decision to allow Kanwar Yatra amid the pandemic.
The Kerala government had announced three-day lockdown restrictions for Bakrid on Sunday, in which shops selling clothes, footwear, jewelry, gift items, home appliances and electronics will be allowed to function.
At present, the state follows a categorized lockdown method based on Test positivity rate (TPR). However, the state is facing pressure from many quarters to reformulate its strategy, which allows shops and business establishments to open only on alternate days. The traders in the state have also threatened to open shops flouting government orders.
The court's directions came a day after it sought an explanation from the Kerala government on the three-day easing restrictions for Bakrid festival on July 21. A leader of the ruling Communist Party Of India (Marxist) CPI (M) had previously told Outlook that there was no question of cancelling the relaxations, however, it will abide by the SC order.