SC asks Kerala government to file reply over relaxation of COVID norms for Bakrid
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court seeks the Kerala government’s response on plea against its decision of easing restrictions ahead of Bakrid.
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Kerala Government to file its response by the end of the day to the plea against its decision easing restrictions ahead of Bakrid when the state is witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases.
The apex court asked Kerala to file its response within 24 hours and agreed to take up the issue on Tuesday.
On July 17, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had announced the concessions at a press conference 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, 19 and 20 from 7 am to 8 pm in category A, B and C areas.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) had warned the state government that it would approach the Supreme Court over easing of restrictions on pretext of religious gatherings around Bakrid amid the rising Covid cases in the state. The IMA had warned the state government over lifting Covid curbs ahead of the festival and called its decision as “retrograde”. It also cautioned that the third wave may be imminent if appropriate measures were not being taken.
Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Vikas Singh before the top court said Kerala has an official positivity rate of 10.96% and yet the relaxation has been granted. Kerala has 13,000 cases whereas UP has much less. SC should pass orders quashing the relaxation.
In its response, Kerala said it has only opened a few shops for the festival and otherwise all norms for Covid are strictly followed.
The application has been moved in the Supreme Court's suo moto case raising concerns over proposed Kanwar Yatra in the State of UP.
Whereas in the said case the Supreme Court had expressed reservation over permitting the Kanwar rituals considering threat to Covid-protocols, the application highlights that the Kerala Government is acting casually by relaxing lockdown restrictions for Bakrid festival from July 18 to July 20.
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