Kerala’s move to “give in to pressure groups” and announce a three-day relaxation of Covid curbs for Bakrid (Eid-ul-Azha) has alarmed the Supreme Court which today said this was “wholly uncalled for”. However, it did not cancel the government notification that eased the lockdown in the state.
“Alarming state of affairs to give in to pressure tactics. Pressure hood of any manner cannot infringe upon the most precious right of right to life. If any untoward incident takes place due to this relaxation, public can bring to our notice and action will be taken accordingly,” a two-judge bench of Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai told the Kerala government.
The court directed the government to pay heed to Article 21 and its order in the Kanwar Yatra case. Last Friday, it had cited the fundamental right to life to order the Uttar Pradesh government to stop the annual Hindu congregation.
Kerala, defending its decision to ease the lockdown to celebrate Bakrid, told the court that the relaxation had been on since June 15 and was nothing new. It also cited the miseries caused to traders who were expecting Bakrid sales to alleviate their economic problems.
When Senior Lawyer Vikas Singh, appearing for the petitioner, asked the court to pass some orders as today was the last day of relaxation, Justice Nariman said, “There is no point. The horse has already bolted. We are not quashing the notification.”
Mr Singh had earlier told the bench that Covid positivity rate in the state stood at over 10 per cent.
The Supreme Court had on Monday asked the Kerala government to file its response on the plea against the three-day relaxation announced by the Pinarayi Vijayan government.
The concession was announced on Saturday for the three days leading to Bakrid which will be celebrated tomorrow.
The Indian Medical Association had on Sunday warned the government against easing the restrictions because of the “inevitable, impending third wave”.