PIL seeks complete lockdown in Chennai
Only essential services should be allowed, says litigant.
A public interest litigation petition filed in the Madras High Court sought a direction to the State to withdraw all relaxations related to the COVID-19 lockdown and permit only essential services within the limits of the Greater Chennai police, since the city has seen a significant spike in cases in recent days.
The case was filed by advocate N. Tamilarasu, 32, of Okkiyam Thoraippakkam. According to him, more than 7 million people had tested positive for COVID-19 and over 4 lakh had died across the globe so far. In India, there were over 1.33 lakh active cases of COVID-19, and 7,745 deaths had occurred. Similarly, in Tamil Nadu, over 36,000 people had tested positive and 326 had died.
Considering the seriousness of the pandemic, the Centre had imposed a nationwide lockdown in March and had extended it periodically.When the lockdown was announced, there were just 26 cases in Tamil Nadu, the petitioner said, citing a news report, and stated that panic buying in the ‘mismanaged’ Koyambedu market had led to an explosion of cases.
Referring to another news report, which projected a increase in cases in the State in the coming months, the petitioner said the disease’s intensity was very high in Chennai, and therefore, an imminent necessity had arisen to enforce a strict lockdown in the city.
Mr. Tamilarasu said that even as per the media bulletins issued by the State government, the number of COVID-19 cases in Chennai had been hovering over 1,000 per day since June 3. Despite this, the government appeared to be “swayed more towards the economic activities than protecting the lives of the general public”.
Insisting upon the withdrawal of all exemptions, which had led to the reopening of many commercial establishments and other institutions in the city limits, the litigant-advocate sought a direction to enforce a strict lockdown until the threat of COVID-19 subsides.
Unless an intense lockdown was announced, physical distancing norms would not be followed, he said.