New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Uttar Pradesh government has moved the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court's order to impose lockdown-like restrictions in five cities - Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Kanpur and Gorakhpur - amid the alarming spike in COVID-19 cases in the state. 

The Yogi Adityanath-led state government has contended that the high court  did not have the domain to issue such kind of directions. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde will hear the matter today. 

On Monday, the Allahabad High Court had directed the UP government to impose strict restrictions including closing of malls, shopping complexes and restaurants till April 26 in five cities, but stopped short of calling it a "complete lockdown".

The court 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.

Passing restrictions for Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur cities, the two-judge bench comprising justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar, said these curbs are "nowhere close to a complete lockdown".

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".

Reacting to the order, the UP government said there will be no "complete lockdown" in the cities for now. "UP Government will not impose a complete lockdown in the cities but impose strict restrictions. The UP Government is submitting its reply before the Court on its observations," said ACS - Information Navneet Sehgal. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday spoke to Adityanath and took stock of the measures being taken to control the coronavirus pandemic. The prime minister also sought information regarding RT-PCR tests done by private laboratories.

Uttar Pradesh on Monday registered the highest single-day rise in COVID-19 deaths with the disease claiming 167 more lives, while 28,287 fresh cases pushed its tally to 8,79,831. 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta