In a significant interim order, the Bombay High Court on Monday said only the "competent authority" could pass orders for implementing effective lockdown.
A bench of Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Nitin Borkar was dealing with a bunch of petitions filed by a few residents and shopkeepers of Nashik challenging the orders issued by local authorities to shut down their shops.
The petitions were filed through advocate Veena Thadani, questioning the jurisdiction and powers of the local gram panchayats to issue such orders to shut all shops.
The orders were passed in view of the surge of Covid cases in the district.
Having heard that contention, the judges said, "We direct in the interim that the Collector, Nashik shall ensure that only the competent authority under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 passes order relating to the present disaster situation vis-a-vis the lockdown."
"The Collector is further directed to ensure that no other authority like Gram Panchayat passes order(s) closing down shops, etc." the bench added while posting the matter for further hearing till August 8.