New Delhi, April 20: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Allahabad High Court Judgment directing the Uttar Pradesh government to impose lockdown in five cities till April 26 amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. These five cities are - Prayagraj, Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi and Gorakhpur. The plea was heard by the bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta represented the UP government.

Mehta said that blanket lockdown in these five cities would create difficulties for administration, reported The Live Law. He further added that the UP government is taking necessary measures to contain COVID-19. The top court, however, asked the state government to report by the High Court on the steps taken by it to control the situation. Lockdown in Uttar Pradesh: Yogi Adityanath Govt Announces Complete Lockdown Across The State on Every Sunday Amid Surge in COVID-19 Cases.

The Allahabad High Court on Monday had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to impose strict restrictions, including the closing of malls, shopping complexes and restaurants till April 26 in five cities, but stopped short of calling it a "complete lockdown". The high court had said these curbs are "nowhere close to a complete lockdown".

The high court had slammed the state government for "not planning" for a second wave of the pandemic and criticised the State Election Commission for holding the panchayat elections at this time and "exposing" poll officials to the threat of the virus. "If we have not imposed a lockdown, it does not mean that we do not believe in it. We are still of the view that if we want to break the chain, a lockdown for a duration of at least two weeks is a must. COVID-19 Surge in Uttar Pradesh: Yogi Adityanath Govt Allows Only 5 Persons at a Time in Religious Places.

"It is a shame that while the Government knew of the magnitude of the second wave, it never planned things in advance," said the high court order. It had also directed the government to "consider the imposition of a complete lockdown in the entire state for at least two weeks". However, the UP government moved the Supreme Court against the Allahabad HC order.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Apr 20, 2021 01:29 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website