19 April 2021 12:25 PM GMT
Noting that the recent surge of pandemic COVID-19 has virtually incapacitated all medical infrastructure in the State of U.P. and especially in cities like Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur and Gorakhpur, the Allahabad High Court on Monday (April 19) imposed Lockdown in these cities till April 26. The Bench of Justice Ajit Kumar and Justice Siddhartha Varma today...
Noting that the recent surge of pandemic COVID-19 has virtually incapacitated all medical infrastructure in the State of U.P. and especially in cities like Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur and Gorakhpur, the Allahabad High Court on Monday (April 19) imposed Lockdown in these cities till April 26.
The Bench of Justice Ajit Kumar and Justice Siddhartha Varma today observed,
"Before (the Pandemic) further spirals to engulf in it the entire population of these badly hit districts, it is necessary to take some harsh steps in larger public interest."
While imposing the Lockdown, the Court did observe that putting lockdown to public activities was a matter, purely in the nature of policy decision by the concerned government, however, since no concrete plan had yet been chalked out by the Government of UP, the Court had to step in.
Regarding the inaction of the State Government, the High Court said that the limitation of the government in creating infrastructure forthwith to meet the challenge of COVID-19 was understandable, however, the Court also opined that before all efforts are translated into action much water would have flown under the bridge to the utter dismay of a large population of have nots.
The Court further observed,
"We are of the view that in a democracy there are legitimate expectations from the government to adopt measures to meet public health issues like all other issues of public interest. Public interest expects judiciary to remain vigilant to all the issues which if not addressed to in time, will result in the failure of the system which is meant to safeguard public interest."
In a stringent remark, the Court pulled up the UP Government and said,
"Those in the helm of affairs of governance are to be blamed for the present chaotic health problems and more so when there is a democracy which means a government of the people, by the people and for the people."
Further, the Court also stated that if people die of pandemic in a large number due to paucity of sufficient medical aid it would be the governments to blame which failed to counter the pandemic even after one long year of experience and learning.
"One would only laugh at us that we have enough to spend on elections and very little to spend on public health", added the Court.
Lamenting at the present state of affairs, the Court also remarked,
"One cannot even imagine what will happen if only 10% of the city population gets infected and needs medical help in hospitals. How the government will manage with the presently existing infrastructure is anybody's guess."
The Court called it a shame that while the Government knew of the magnitude of the second wave it never planned things in advance.
Importantly, the Court said,
"You may have grocery shops with full of eatables and industries which produce bikes and cars but all this won't be of any use if your medical shops run out of stock of life saving drugs like Remdesvire in the current surge of pandemic."
The Court also recorded its displeasure at the way government and the State Election Commission proceeded to hold election forcing teachers and other government staff to perform duties exposing themselves to the threat of pandemic that looms large these days. The police was virtually shifted to polling places giving priority to election above public health.
Significantly, the Court observed,
"In any civilized society, if public health system is not able to meet the challenges and people die for want of proper medication, it means there has been no proper development. Health and education go side-byside."
Court's direction for 5 Cities
Noting that public health was the top most priority and call of the moment and any complacency of any degree today would cause havoc to people, the Court remarked
"We can't shirk away from our constitutional duty to save innocent people from the pandemic which is spreading due to the negligence of a few."
Additionally, the Court also remarked,
"If popular government has its own political compulsions in not checking public movements during this pandemic, we cannot remain mere passive spectators."
The Court passed the following directions in respect of cities of Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur, and the government was directed to strictly enforce them forthwith:
Apart from issuing these directions, the Court, once again directed the government to consider imposition of a 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", said the Court.
The matter has been posted for further hearing on 26th April 2021.
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