“It is necessary to take some harsh steps in larger public interest…” pointed out Allahabad High Court while Yogi Govt refuses to impose HC order, “Along with saving lives, the livelihood of the poor has to be saved..”, as they added.
As COVID-19 shows no signs of stopping and situation gets bad to worse, on 19 April’21, Allahabad High Court steps in to order near total lockdown in 5 worst hit cities like Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur and Gorakhpur, till 26 April.
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 has yet been chalked out in the light of our observations made in our last order and also do not see anything new in the government guidelines issued on 17.04.2021, court had to step in.
The Bench of Justice Ajit Kumar and Justice Siddhartha Verma observed,
“Public interest expects judiciary to remain vigilant to all the issues which if not not addressed to in time, will result in the failure of the system which is meant to safeguard public interest..” it added.
In retaliation, Yogi Government refused to implement Allahabad HC order as lockdown will take away the livelihood of poor people.
Issuing the statement, the Uttar Pradesh Government has said,
“Today in the order of the Hon’ble High Court, the spokesman of the UP government has conveyed that the Corona cases have increased in the state and strictness is necessary for the control of the Corona. Government has taken many steps, strict steps are being taken even further. Along with saving lives, the livelihood of the poor has to be saved. Therefore, there will not be a complete lockdown in the cities. People are automatically shutting down many places willingly,” it added.
The Allahabad HC order also gained various reactions from cetizens all over social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. While majority are in support of bold step of High Court, there are also people claiming Judicial Overreach by Allahabad HC and expressing their disappointment.
“Allahabad HC orders lockdown in 5 UP cities? Why do we have elected govts if HC orders bypassing govts?” asks one concerned cetizen.
Many such comments come pouring down under hashtags #AllahabadHC and #lockdown, on Twitter.
Whether it’s the case of Judicial Overreach or not, no one can deny that situation is getting out of hand and government policies are not up to mark to handle worsening conditions.
People crying out for help, for oxygen, for vaccines will not be concerned with economic damages at that moment. Proper action is needed to be taken and if government doesn’t come forward, someone has to.
As Allahabad High Court observed in their order,
“In any civilised 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-by- side. 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.”
University Of Lucknow