New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Tuesday put on hold the Allahadad High Court's order directing the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict restrictions till April 26 in five cities amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde also asked the state government submit before Allahabad High Court its various steps and measures taken to control the pandemic, within a week.

The high court had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict restrictions including closing of malls, shopping complexes and restaurants till April 26 in five cities - Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur, but stopped short of calling it a "complete lockdown". 

The Yogi Adityanath-led state government, however, refused to implement the order, saying that saving lives, protecting livelihoods is also important. It said strict curbs are necessary to control the spread of the virus and that the government has taken several steps in that direction. 

Earlier today, the UP government had approached the top court against the high court's order, contending that the latter did not have the domain to issue such kind of order. 

On Monday, the high court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict lockdown-like restrictions including closing of malls, shopping complexes and restaurants till April 26 in five cities - Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur.

It also slammed the state government for "not planning" for a second wave of the pandemic, and criticised the State Election Commission for holding the panchayat elections at this time and "exposing" poll officials to the threat of virus.

The court said in its order, "If we have not imposed a lockdown it does not mean that we do not believe in it. We are still of the view that if we want to break the chain a lockdown for a duration of at least two weeks is a must."

"It is a shame that while the Government knew of the magnitude of the second wave it never planned things in advance," observed the two-judge bench.

It also 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,” it observed.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta