Soon after the Uttar Pradesh government moved the Supreme Court challenging the order passed by Allahabad High Court imposing a near-total lockdown in five cities in the state, in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, the apex court stayed the order and said there will be no lockdown in the cities as of now.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde seeking urgent listing. Mehta submitted that a virtual lockdown has been imposed by way of a judicial order in cities like Prayagraj and Lucknow. He urged the top court to hear the matter at the end of the board. The Chief Justice replied, “alright.”
“There shall be an interim stay on the order of the high court,” a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said while hearing the state government's plea against the order passed on Monday.
Mehta said the state government has issued several directions and taken adequate precaution on the issue.
He said the high court order would create immense administrative difficulties.
The apex court, while granting interim stay on the high court order, appointed senior advocate P S Narasimha as amicus curiae to assist in the matter.
The bench directed that the matter be listed after two weeks.
Earlier in the day, the apex court agreed to hear the plea of the Uttar Pradesh government against the high court order after the state requested urgent listing of the matter.
The high court had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict restrictions including closing of malls, shopping complexes and restaurants till April 26 in five cities, but stopped short of calling it a "complete lockdown".
Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur, Nagar and Gorakhpur are the cities in which the high court has directed curbs.
The high court had said these curbs are "nowhere close to a complete lockdown".
(With PTI inputs)
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