Monday, Jul 04, 2022

HC Asks Allahabad To Turn Into Fort During Magh Fair

The bench observed only people with Covid negative reports should be allowed to enter the city to participate in the ‘Magh mela’ in February 2021

People gathered to take holy dips at Sangam on Maghi Purnima during the annual traditional fair of “Magh Mela” in Allahabad. AP Photo

The Allahabad High Court has favoured turning the entire city into a fort with an absolute ban on the entry of Covid positive people into during the upcoming Magh fair on the bank of the confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati.

A bench of justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar made the observation while hearing a public interest lawsuit seeking the court’s intervention and guidance to the government’s effort to curb the spread of the pandemic in the state.

The bench said only people with negative RT-PCR and antigen test reports should be allowed to enter the city to participate in the ‘Magh mela’, starting in the middle of February next year.

"The court desires to have a more comprehensive guideline which would ensure that people who enter the city of Prayagraj during the Mela, are in no manner going to bring in the infection of Covid-19," the bench said after examining various proposed anti-Covid arrangements of the district administration.

"We are prima facie of the opinion that unless the entire city is turned into a fort and entry into it is absolutely banned in the month of Magh, except for those who are having negative RT-PCR reports and then again are found negative on antigen testing at the border of the city, we cannot save the people of the city from getting infected with Covid19," the bench said.

The bench also asked the state government counsel to file a comprehensive guideline for holding ‘Magh Mela’ amid the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Drugs Controller General of India earlier expressed its inability to apprise the court of the time by which various anti-Covid vaccines are likely to be approved by it for the inoculation of people.

It expressed its inability in even spelling out the conditions on which they could be used for emergency use.

The DGCI told the court that four anti-Covid vaccines are at the stage of clinical trial presently after which data over their safety and ‘immunogenicity’ would be found.

Once these data are found suitable, they will be examined by the Subject Expert Committee and based on the evaluation, their cases of for approval will be decided, the DCGI told the court.