The apex court asked Kerala to file its response within 24 hours and agreed to take up the issue on Tuesday.
A plea was filed before an SC bench headed by Justice R F Nariman, which forced the UP government to ban kanwar yatra because of Covid pandemic, challenging the three day relaxation of lockdown norms in Kerala by state government for Bakrid.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court also asked UP government and all authorities including police to take stern view of any violation of Covid norms or attempt to take out any yatra and immediate action to stop any action that poses threat to lives of citizens.
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 where as UP has much less. SC should pass orders quashing the relaxation.
In its response, Kerala said it has only opened few shops for the festival and otherwise all norms for Covid are strictly followed.
The intervention application was moved by one PKD Nambiar, a Delhi resident, in the suo motu case already initiated by the Supreme Court in connection with Uttar Pradesh government decision on ‘Kanwar Yatra’.
The application submitted that despite discontentment shown by the top court over the yatra, the Kerala government is acting in a casual manner by relaxing Covid norms. “To the utter dismay of India’s citizens, Kerala government announced a 3-day relaxation of lockdown restrictions on July 18, 19 and 20 keeping in view the upcoming Bakrid festival,” said the plea.
Nambiar contended that Kerala has been showing alarming numbers in Covid cases, though other states have improved their situation. “It is shocking that in a medical emergency, the government is playing with the lives of citizens through such measures. That the government’s move is in total contravention with July 16, order passed by this court”, the plea added.
On July 16, the top court had pointed out that fear of a third Covid wave looms large over all Indians as it asked the Uttar Pradesh government to reconsider its decision on a physical Kanwar Yatra.
On Uttar Pradesh government’s symbolic Kanwar Yatra proposal, the court had replied, “the right to life is paramount” and asked the government to reconsider its position on the annual ritual that sees a heavy movement of pilgrims across the states in the northern belt.