The Supreme Court of India has pulled up the Kerala government for relaxation in Covid curbs for the Muslim festival ‘Bakrid’, even as the state continues to record a high number of covid cases.
The Supreme Court Tuesday took the Kerala government to task for easing Covid-19 curbs in the state for the Bakrid festival, even in areas with a high test positivity rate (TPR). The bench headed by Justice R F Nariman said that pressure groups of any kind, religious or otherwise, cannot in any manner interfere with the right to life.
The court further said that the state government of Kerala has given in to the demand of traders to allow shops to open. This was even done in zones witnessing a positivity rate of 15% or more, the court observed, calling it “an alarming and sorry state of affairs.”
In response to the plea, the Kerala government told SC that the norms were eased to address the distressing condition of the traders, who had stocked up for Bakrid.
“With the economic slowdown haunting the traders, not allowing them to sell their stock during the festival would have dealt a crippling blow to their finances,” it said justifying the three-day relaxation of lockdown norms, which ends on Tuesday. The state added that only limited relaxations have been given, while all Covid-19 protocols are being followed in the markets.
The matter came up for hearing in the apex court before a bench of Justices R F Nariman and B R Gavai. The court directed the state government to follow its orders given in the Kanwar Yatra case.
Earlier, Justice Nariman had directed the state of Uttar Pradesh to reconsider even allowing a symbolic physical Kanwar Yatra given the fear of a third Covid-19 wave after taking suo motu cognizance of a report in The Indian Express on UP’s decision to allow the Kanwar Yatra during the pandemic.
“We direct the state of 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 bench concluded.