"High Time to Impose Lockdown In The State"- Allahabad High Court
In-Re Inhuman Condition At Quarantine Centres And For Providing Better Treatment To Corona Positive (PIL) No. - 574 of 2020
The Allahabad High Court had shown it's concern towards the UP Government for not reinstating the lockdown despite the elevating cases of COVID-19 in the State. Certain Observations were made by the Court, on hearing Suo Motu cases regarding the prevailing situation of the COVID-19 quarantine centers of the state and other COVID related issues.
The Counsel for the petitioner condemned the apparent service of the COVID-19 related activities by placing out certain facts to prove the point. Ms. Rishu Mishra, one of the counsels appearing for the petitioner, had pressed on her application concerning the sub-standard masks which were not being manufactured in conformity with the guidelines provided by the Central Government and were being permitted to be sold. While the counsel for the Respondent had informed that a doctor will be appointed as a Nagar Swasth Adhikari in the Nagar Nigam and he would oversee the cleanliness and the sanitization of the city. He assured that the newly appointed doctor shall ensure that the fogging would be done in the city regularly and that he shall see that the chemical malathion is mixed with the diesel as per the ratio provided under the guidelines.
Court Observation on 'Post-Unlock' Situation in UP.
After imposing lockdown on the 25th of March, 2020, the state witnessed a decrease in the number of cases. this is when the Government decided to 'unlock' the State and thus bring back the economy to the normal condition. the Unlock process was done in three phases, and each phase was executed in consecutive three months( 1st lockdown in June, second in July, and the third one of the 29th of July).
Despite the concrete steps taken by the government to bring the Pandemic under control, it seems that declaring lockdown in the state is to be necessitated since the number of COVID cases has been abruptly rising in the state. The court has also noticed the failure from the part of police authorities and district administrations in restricting the movement of the people who are roaming around and the gathering of the same at some tea stalls and beetal shops. The court also showed its disappointment in police actions of releasing the people who violate the COVID related rules by imposing fines. The Court also said that the fact that people unwearying mask itself proves the point of the seriousness of the pandemic in them, and it deliberately calls for the Strict action to be taken, for the public interest.
the court also pointed out the need to take out the stringent action for the betterment of the lives of the people. it stressed out the need for a complete lockdown and said that when we have to balance between the bread and life, the latter is to be preferred. it also observed that a lockdown for a fortnight would bring the economy of the State to such a halt that people would die of hunger.
Order of the Court
Under the circumstances of rising COVID cases and death, the Court directed the chief secretary of the state of UP to provide Information on 5 matters :
Was there any plan of action to contain the infection when the economy was re-opened?
If there was any plan of action then was it ever implemented?
Was there any planning done for the whole State of U. P and whether the enforcement by the authorities responsible for the whole State had taken any action?
Whether any action had been taken by the Central authority to punish authorities in the districts who had not followed the planning, if there was any, by the Central Agency?
To come up with a Road Map, because of what has been observed by us in this order, to contain the contagion from now onwards by the next date.
Critical Analysis On the Court's Instance
Despite the Government action to take care not to spread the disease, the court was very much dissatisfied with the rise in the COVID cases throughout the state. further, when the Unlock was declared, many people were under an impression of eradication of disease and was recklessly roaming out throughout the state, without any safety measures. also, the failure from various government departments to comply with the COVID related rules had accompanied the rise in COVID cases.
Declaring Lockdown would not impede the usage of the government resources as always concerned, but it would facilitate the people to stay away from places and to get locked inside their respective houses. Of course, this could not be done in long run but could mitigate the current increase of cases and bring back the things under control.
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Swathi. Ashok. Nair is currently pursuing law at School of Legal Studies, Cochin University of Science and Technology
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