The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Kerala government for allowing a three-day relaxation in Covid-19 restrictions in the state ahead of Bakrid festival, saying the state government bowing to traders’ pressure by granting relaxations shows “sorry state of affairs”.
“It is a shocking state of affairs that the Kerala government has given in to the demand of traders to relax lockdown norms,” the SC said on Tuesday.
Saying that the pressure groups in the market can’t be allowed to affect the right to health, the Supreme Court said, “Can’t quash the Kerala government notification. The horse has already bolted.”
Warning the Kerala government that it will take action if relaxations granted by the state for Bakrid lead to further spread of Covid-19, the SC said, “We direct 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.”
The SC also termed relaxations granted by the Kerala government for Bakrid “wholly uncalled for”, and added that the citizenry of India has been laid bare to the nationwide pandemic by the grant of such relaxations for Bakrid.
The Supreme Court had on Monday asked the Kerala government to file its response on an application against the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in the state in view of Eid.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had announced the concessions at a press conference on July 17 and said that in view of Bakrid (Eid-ul-Azha) being celebrated on July 21, textiles, footwear shops, jewellery, fancy stores, shops selling home appliances and electronic items, all types of repairing shops and shops selling essential items shall be allowed to open on July 18-20 from 7 am to 8 pm in category A, B and C areas.
In D category areas, these shops can function only on July 19, he had said. The areas have been categorised based on test positivity rate.