SC slams Kerala govt for relaxing COVID-19 norms for Bakrid on the day relaxations conclude

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rapped the Kerala government for allowing a three-day relaxation in COVID-19 restrictions on the occasion of Muslim festival of Bakrid.

The court said if there is any spread of the COVID19 infection due to the lockdown relaxations by the Kerala government owing to Bakrid, any person can bring it to the notice of the court which will then take appropriate action. The Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala had relaxed lockdown restrictions imposed for curbing Chinese coronavirus for three days starting 18th July. Today is the last day of relaxations.

“It is an alarming state of affairs that the Kerala government has given in to the demand of traders to relax lockdown norms,” the SC said.

The apex court also ordered the Kerala State government to adhere to the same guidelines laid down by the court for the Kanwar Yatra this year amid a raging coronavirus pandemic.

“We direct Kerala to give heed to Article 21 read with Article 144 of the Constitution of India and follow our orders given in the Kanwar Yatra case,” the SC said.

The court was responding to a plea filed against the Kerala government’s move to ease lockdown restrictions amidst a raging bout of coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court had asked the Kerala government to respond to the petition against the relaxation in Covid-19 restrictions in the state in the view of Eid.

The Kerala government had announced relaxations for Bakrid festival in a press conference organised on July 17. Addressing the press conference, CM Pinarayi Vijayan had said then that textiles, footwear shops, jewellery, fancy stores, shops selling home appliances and electronic items, all types of repairing shops and shops selling essential items shall be allowed to open on July 18-20 from 7 am to 8 pm in category A, B and C areas.

For shops located in D category, he said, permission to remain open was limited to July 19 only. The areas have been categorised on the basis of test positivity rate.

Although the top court noted that the pressure groups in the market can’t be permitted to have an impact on the right to health, it nevertheless said that it can’t quash the Kerala government’s notification. “The horse has already bolted,” the court said.

Interestingly, the stern rebuke from the top court came after the relaxations in Kerala are coming to an end, unlike in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand where the Supreme Court demonstrated unmatched alacrity to pass orders cancelling the Kanwar Yatra after taking suo moto cognisance.

Source : OpIndia

SC avoids passing order to stop Kerala’s lockdown relaxation for Bakra Eid

July 19, 2021

The Supreme Court Monday deferred the hearing in the plea filed before it against the decision of the Kerala government to relax COVID lockdown restrictions in the State for three days in view of Bakra Eid. It has asked the Kerala Government to file its response by the end of the day to the plea and directed the registry to list the matter for hearing on July 20 (Tuesday).

The court was hearing the plea filed by one PKD Nambiar, a Delhi resident. Nambiar had filed the petition as an intervention application in the suo motu case already initiated by the Supreme Court regarding the holding of Kanwar Yatra by Uttar Pradesh.

Surprisingly, the apex court’s decision to go soft on the Kerala Government’s decision to relax Covid curbs during Bakra Eid is in stark contrast to its stand on the celebration of Kanwar Yatra in Uttar Pradesh.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh submitted before the court that Kerala has an official positivity rate of 10.96% and yet the relaxation has been granted. Furthermore, Kerala has 13,000 cases where as UP has much less. He appealed the SC to pass orders quashing the relaxation granted by the Kerala government ahead of Bakra Eid.

Kerala government contested that only a few shops will be allowed to open for the Bakra Eid festival shopping and otherwise all Covid restrictions will be followed.

Supreme Court takes suo motu case against Kanwar Yatra in UP, issues warning to Yogi Govt

The apex court had last week taken suo moto cognisance of the news that the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to allow ‘Kanwar Yatra’ amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. It had strictly warned the Yogi Adityanath government against holding the Hindu festival amidst the pandemic.

In fact, the same bench headed by Justice RF Nariman, that failed to pass any order on Monday to stop Kerala’s lockdown relaxations for Bakri Eid, had on July 16 (Friday), said categorically that the State of Uttar Pradesh cannot go ahead with its decision to allow the Kanwar Yatra in the State amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Either we will pass orders directly, or will give you one more opportunity to reconsider your decision”, Justice Nariman told Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan, who had appeared for the State of Uttar Pradesh.

Following SC’s warning, the Uttar Pradesh government decided to cancel the Kanwar Yatra this year.

After taking the Uttar Pradesh government’s statement that it has decided to cancel the Kanwar Yatra this year on record, the Supreme Court decided to close the case it took as suo moto against UP’s decision to hold Kanwar Yatra amid COVID-19.

Meanwhile, PKD Nambiar, who moved SC against the Kerala Government’s decision to allow relaxations during the Bakri Eid festival, submitted before the court that Kerala has been consistently showing an alarming rise in the numbers of COVID cases, though other states have improved their situation.

Adding that the decision to allow the relaxations by the Pinarayi govt was based on political and communal intentions, PKD Nambiar in his plea pointed out how the top court had taken a strict view against holding Kanwar Yatra citing the right to health of citizens.

The petitioner argued that the Kerala government’s move violates the Supreme Court’s July 16 order in the matter, which had specifically emphasised that the health of the citizenry of India and their right to life is paramount and that all other sentiments are subservient.

Nambiar, therefore, sought a similar intervention as regards the decision of the Kerala government to relax lockdown restrictions for three days.

Source : OpIndia

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