The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Kerala government for easing lockdown measures in the state during the Bakrid festival.
“We direct the state of 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,” ordered the Bench of Justice R.F. Nariman and Justice B.R. Gavai.
The apex court was hearing a petition seeking to quash the Kerala Government’s notification easing lockdown measures in the state during Bakrid. The plea stated that Kerala continues to see surge in covid19 cases and such relaxations are not permissible.
The bench did not quash the Kerala Government notification allowing relaxation in Covid-19 norms for Bakrid Celebration. However, it noted that the affidavit submitted by the State of Kerala discloses a sorry state of affairs and does not in any real manner safeguard the right to health guaranteed to the citizens under Article 21.
The Court also gave warning to the State of Kerala and said, “Pressurehood of any manner cannot infringe upon the most precious right, the Right to Life for citizens of India. If any untoward incident takes place, then any public can bring to our notice and action will be taken accordingly.”
Yesterday, the apex court had given Kerala a day’s time to reply to a plea challenging the state government’s decision to relax lockdown for three days, beginning Sunday, in view of the Bakrid festival.
The state later in the day told the court that curbs put in place to deal with Covid-19 have put people in a lot of misery and traders, who had stocked up goods, were expecting Bakrid sales to alleviate their misery to a certain extent.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for applicant P K D Nambiar, who filed an impleadment application in the Kanwar Yatra matter, pointed out, “The relaxation was allowed for three days – July 18, 19 and 20.”
Senior Advocate Singh prayed, “Some relief should be granted immediately, or it will be of no use. If time is given to the state, the three-day time will be over. Pass immediate orders today itself. Ultimately, the fight will be a lost one to a relaxation of this kind. There can’t be anything populist today, amidst the pandemic.”
Yesterday, the bench had acceded to Kerala government Counsel G Prakash’s request for granting time to file a reply. It asked the state to submit its response on Monday itself and said it will take up the matter as the first item on Tuesday morning.
Read order below:15729_2021_32_12_28730_Order_20-Jul-2021