The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre to convene a meeting of representatives from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and try evolving a common policy for movement of commuters between the three states in the Delhi-NCR region.
The top court has asked the three states to work on a common policy for interstate movement in a week.
This came after a petitioner named Rohit Bhalla, a Gurugram resident, challenged the sealing of borders with Delhi by the Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments, a report in Hindustan Times said. Bhalla described the move as unconstitutional and said it affected the right to travel under Article 19. He pointed out that it caused great confusion and difficulties for people who want to visit Delhi for urgent needs including meeting ailing relatives.
The court said the endeavour should be to have a common policy, common portal and one pass for interstate travel in the region.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.R. Shah gave one week’s time to the Centre to resolve the issues faced by the common man.
Justice Kaul emphasized that for the NCR region, there should be a consistent policy. The bench noted that no counsel has appeared for the Delhi government though it was served on the matter. “One policy, one path and one portal required”, said the bench.
On May 26, the Supreme Court had asked Centre’s response on a plea highlighting restrictions, due to sealing of borders, on movement for permissible activities in the national capital region (NCR) due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The apex court took up the matter through video conferencing and asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to take instructions from the authorities concerned. The bench asked the petitioner’s counsel to serve the copy on the Solicitor General, who could get response from the Centre and the Delhi government. The top court will hear the matter next week.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on June 1 announced the sealing of borders for a week, barring essential services. He said that a decision will be taken on the same after one week as per suggestions from the citizens.
On Sunday, the Gautam Budh Nagar district administration had said that it will keep the Delhi-Noida border shut due to the rise in Coronavirus cases.
According to a report of the district health department, the “source of infection in 42 per cent of the COVID-19 cases in the last 20 days has been tracked to Delhi”.
The Uttar Pradesh government has allowed interstate travel but left it to the district administrations of Ghaziabad and Noida to take a call on the movement of people from adjoining New Delhi.
Meanwhile, the Delhi-Gurugram border, which was sealed in the previous phases of lockdown, has been opened.
On May 30, the Centre took an exit step from the 68-day nationwide lockdown, declaring that the restrictions will be limited only to containment zones up to June 30 and that the prohibited activities will be opened in a phased manner in areas outside these zones, allowing restaurants, malls, religious places and education sectors to open in a phased manner.
Lockdown 5.0 or Unlock has kicked in with some major relaxations compared to the previous phase of the lockdown including travelling between borders of states.