Nagpur:The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday refused to stay a notification issued by the civic body, declaring Nagpur as a COVID-19 red zone and putting the city under lockdown on par with Mumbai and Pune. A division bench of Justices Ravi Deshpande and Amit Borkar was hearing two petitions filed by Darpan Sales Corporation and Sai Collection challenging Nagpur municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe’s notification dated May 4 that declared the city as a COVID-19 red zone.
The petitioners claimed that the civic commissioner did not have the power or authority to pass such an order when the state government has already demarcated zones. The civic body’s advocate S M Puranik on Friday informed the court that Mundhe had on May 21 issued another notification declaring Nagpur as red zone till May 31 when the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown is slated to end.
The bench held that unless the notification issued by the Nagpur civic body is declared to be unconstitutional it is not possible for the court to grant stay on the same. The court directed for the petition to be posted for hearing in June.
As per the Maharashtra government’s new guidelines issued early this week, Nagpur was not in red zone. The petitioners said they were deprived of their livelihoods because of the civic body’s action of putting the entire city under lockdown on par with Mumbai, Pune and Malegaon regions.
According to the petitioners, the state government had earlier in May issued directions and guidelines permitting shops in orange and green zones in the state to remain open with a few restrictions. However, the Nagpur civic chief issued a notification declaring Nagpur as red zone because of which only shops selling essential commodities and medicines can remain open.
The petitioners sought for the civic body’s notification of May 4 to be quashed and set aside and by way of interim relief, for its implementation to be stayed pending hearing of the plea..