Even as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has reiterated that the government was not considering complete lockdown in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court has directed the state government to impose lockdown in five worst-affected cities – Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Prayagraj -- from Monday at 10 pm till April 26.
In its order on Monday, a two-member bench comprising Justice Ajit Kumar and Justice Siddharth Varma said that during the complete lockdown even milk and bread should not be allowed to sell after 11 am.
The two-member bench categorically stated that the state government has to comply with the lockdown order of the High Court. It directed to serve a copy of the order to the State Chief Secretary for enforcing the lockdown from Monday night.
The High Court further said that if we want to break the chain, a lockdown for a duration of two weeks is a must. “We direct the government to consider the imposition of complete lockdown in the entire state for at least a period of two weeks. This would not only break the chain of the spread of the virus but would also give respite to health workers,” the court ordered, directing a lockdown in the entire state.
It is for the first time that any court in the country has directed the state government to impose complete lockdown since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
Elaborating its order, the HC banned all social gatherings including marriage till April 26. For already fixed marriage, prior permission will have to be taken from the district magistrate. The court has restricted gatherings to only 25 persons.
All religious establishments of any kind are directed to remain closed till April 26 and all religious activities in public of any kind are directed to remain suspended till April 26.
All hawkers including fruits, vegetables, bread and milk vendors shall go off roads by 11 am every day till April 26. Containment zones shall be notified each day in leading Hindi and English newspapers in the five cities.
All public movements on roads would remain restricted completely, except for medical help and emergencies, the court directed.