The Allahabad High Court on Monday 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.
However, the Yogi Adityanath government has refused to follow the court directions saying that “the government will not impose complete lockdown in any city as of now.”
The Additional Chief Secretary Information admitted that the number of active cases has indeed gone up and it was important to take tough measures. But while saving lives was important, it was vital to safeguard their livelihood also, he pointed out.
“There was no need to impose a complete lockdown in any city when people are themselves enforcing the same,” stated the state government spokesperson.
In its order on Monday, a two-member bench comprising Justice Ajit Kumar and Justice Siddharth Varma had said that during the 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 no choice but to comply with the lockdown order of the High Court. It accordingly directed that a copy of the order be served on the State Chief Secretary for enforcing the lockdown from Monday night.
The High Court further said that a lockdown of 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.
It is for the first time that any court in the country has directed the state government to impose complete lockdown since the outbreak.
Elaborating on its order, the High Court also banned all social gatherings, including marriages, till April 26. As regards marriages which are already fixed, prior permission will have to be taken from the district magistrate. The court has restricted the gatherings at such events to only 25 persons.
All religious establishments of any kind are also directed to remain closed till April 26 and all religious activities in public of any kind are to remain suspended till then.
All hawkers including fruits, vegetable, bread and milk vendors shall go off roads by 11 am every day till April 26, the court has directed. 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.