The Supreme Court criticized the Kerala Government’s decision to relax the Covid-19 restrictions for Bakrid and stated that giving in to pressure groups to relax restrictions was a ‘sorry state of affairs.’
A plea was filed by P.K.D. Nambiar in the Hon’ble Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Kerala Government to relax its Covid-protocols and lockdown restrictions from 18th July 2021 to 20th July 2021 owing to the festival of Bakrid. Subsequently, on 19th July 2021, the Supreme Court asked the Kerala Government to file its response pertaining to its decision.
Submissions before the Court
The petition had stated that by relaxing the restrictions, the Kerala Government was playing with the lives of its citizens. It was contended that the decision to relax the restrictions was taken on the basis of discussions between the State CM and the leaders of a trader’s body. It was stated in the petition that the Government had taken the decision without consulting with the Medical Department. According to the petition, the decision of the Kerala Government was motivated by political interest. The Petition had also highlighted the rising number of Covid cases in the State.
In its response, filed on 19th July, 2021, the Kerala Government stated that “traders were expecting Bakrid sales to alleviate their misery; hence, they had stocked up goods for the same.” It was stated that traders were frustrated by the curbs. Additionally, the Government stated that despite the relaxations, measures had been taken to curb the potential spread of Covid-19 infection.
Supreme Court’s Observations
After considering the submissions of both the parties, the bench constituted by Justices R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai observed that “State Government has given in to associations of traders who represented before the government that they have stocked up goods for Bakrid very early.” According to the Court, pressure groups cannot be permitted to interfere with fundamental rights such as a right to health.
Supreme Court criticize Kerala Government
The Hon’ble Supreme Court criticized the Kerala Government’s decision and stated that the affidavit filed by the Government was nothing but a sorry state of affairs. Additionally, the Court directed the Government to follow the directions which were given by the Supreme Court to the State of Uttar Pradesh.