Travel restrictions will continue with Delhi, UP govt tells SC

The Uttar Pradesh government has told the Supreme Court that it will have to continue travel restrictions imposed from Noida and Ghaziabad to Delhi. Since the source of infection in 45 percent of Covid-19 cases from these cities have sources of infection tracing back to the national capital.

 During the hearing, SG Tushar Mehta submitted: “On June 9, Union Home Secretary had convened a meeting between Haryana, Delhi and UP. Haryana and Delhi governments agreed to open borders. UP government stated their inability to do the same due to Covid and is only allowing movement of essential services.”

The Haryana government told the top court that they have allowed to and fro movement of people from the Gurugram border. The UP government contended, “There are over 32,000 Covid-19 cases and 1,000 deaths in Delhi alone, while total death cases in Noida and Ghaziabad are about 40.”

 The apex court took strong exception to the order by Noida’s District Magistrate by mandating institutional quarantine for all Covid-19 cases including asymptomatic patients. Asserting that such an order cannot be issued since it is against the national guidelines, the bench sought a report on this issue from the UP government till Wednesday. The top court was hearing a petition challenging the decisions of Haryana and UP administrations, claiming it was unconstitutional on their part to restrict movement for permissible activities in areas falling within the NCR through “blanket orders of sealing borders without reasonable exceptions”.

Earlier, the SC had asked the Centre to convene a meeting with Delhi, Haryana and UP to evolve a common policy and procedure for movement of the commuters. While the Centre said that the decision to open or close state borders rested with respective states, the top court asked them to arrive at a common ground in a week’s time.

Prior to SC orders, the UP government had filed an affidavit stating that they were cautiously allowing only registered entries into the state and at present, there is no such situation that all people can be allowed entry. The affidavit stated, “More important than money and industry, is people’s health and there is no messing with it. We believe that if free movement is allowed during the pandemic, it can cause trouble. People of NCR cannot be given open freedom to travel to Delhi.”

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