Allahabad High Court
Allahabad High Court
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Any step less than a lockdown would be of no help: Allahabad HC voices concern over rise of COVID-19 cases in UP

"The best choice today is to close down things for a while though selectively, to force people to confine themselves to their homes," the Court remarked.

Lydia Suzanne Thomas

Taking critical note of the rising cases of COVID-19 in Uttar Pradesh and the public's apathy in complying with physical distancing norms, the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday observed that another lockdown seemed to be the only way to contain the virus' spread (In-Re Inhuman Condition At Quarantine Centres And For Providing Better Treatment To Corona Positive).

A Bench of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar remarked,

"For the last several dates, we are being repeatedly assured of concrete steps being taken by the administration of various districts of the State to contain the spread of COVID-19 but the manner and the rise this pandemic has shown in several parts of the State, it is evident that any step lesser than a lock down, would be of no help."

The Court went on to opine,

"... the best choice today is to close down things for a while though selectively, to force people to confine themselves to their homes."
Allahabad High Court

The Court further observed that a lockdown for a week or so would not bring the economy to a halt, adding that a balance has to be made between 'food and water' and 'life' itself.

"When we have to balance between bread and butter and life, the latter has to prevail. Food is for life to survive and not vice-versa. We do not think that a lock down for a fortnight would bring the economy of the State to such a halt that people would die of hunger", reads the order.

While taking stock of the failure of State functionaries to restrict the movement of people during this time, despite various directives, the Court also added,

"Law is meant for the people and if spread of virus COVID-19 can be contained by locking the people inside their homes, let it be, as it will not only save the lives of people in general but even will result in better use of government resources."

In an earlier hearing, the Advocate General had informed the Court that a second lockdown would be unfeasible given that the unlock phase has been declared. The State had assured the Bench that the Police and the District Administration would gear up to fetch the desired results in a weeks' time.

However, on Tuesday the Court took critical note that the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths were rising despite the State's measures.

"We do not doubt government's will but we are equally conscious that measures taken are not enough and are needed to be made more severe and stringent but of course, workable too at the same time," the Court said.

In light of the statistics produced in Court, a list of questions was posed to the State concerning:

  1. Whether there was a plan of action to tackle the virus spread after the lockdown ended,

  2. The State's implementation of this plan,

  3. The implementation of a plan for the entire State as a whole, as opposed to orders issued by individual officers,

  4. The existence of plans by a Central Government agency and steps taken to penalise districts discovered to not be complying,

  5. A new roadmap to contain the virus.

After directing the State to respond by way of an affidavit, the Court posted the matter to August 28.

Read the Order here:

In Re Inhuman Conditions at Quarantine Centers and Treatment of Corona Positive.pdf
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