Supreme Court seeks Kerala’s reply over easing of pandemic norms for Bakrid

The Supreme Court Monday asked the Kerala government to file its response during the day on an application against the three-day relaxation in COVID-19 restrictions in the state in view of the upcoming Bakrid festival. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced the concessions at a press conference on July 17 and said that in view of Bakrid (Eid-ul-Azha) being celebrated on July 21, textiles, footwear shops, jewellery, fancy stores, shops selling home appliances and electronic items, all types of repairing shops and shops selling essential items shall be allowed to open on July 18-20 from 7 AM to 8 PM in category A, B and C areas.

In D category areas, these shops can function only on July 19, he had said. The areas have been categorised based on test positivity rate. The matter came up for hearing in the top court before a bench of Justices R F Nariman and B R Gavai, which also took note of the affidavit filed by Uttar Pradesh government which said that no Kanwar Yatra will be allowed this year in the state due to the pandemic. After the counsel appearing for Kerala said he would file reply to the application, the bench asked him to do so during the day and said it would take up the matter for hearing as first item on Tuesday. The application was filed in the matter in which the top court had last week taken suo motu cognisance of earlier media reports on the UP government’s decision to allow Kanwar Yatra amid the COVID pandemic. During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, the bench perused the affidavit filed by UP government.

The State Health Ministry has said that the infection rate in the state was around 10 percent for several weeks, which has now increased to 11.08 percent. In the last 24 hours, 13,206 people have recovered from the infection, after which the number of people who are free from infection has increased to 30,33,258.