Viral messages claiming that the Bombay High Court (HC) has ordered an extension of the ongoing lockdown till April 30 are false.The viral message has added news links from Times Of India and Maharashtra Times about Bombay HC extending its interim orders which expire before April 30, to lend credibility to the fake forward.
The message has taken two forms, with each citing separate stories - one reported by the Times of India in English, the second by Maharashtra Today in Marathi. The news stories do not mention an extension of the current lockdown in Maharashtra but report a decision by the Bombay HC about extension of interim orders already passed and expiring before April 30.
Both messages reached BOOM's helpline (7700906111). The first message, citing the Times of India, can be seen below.
The link to the Times of India can be found here.
The message carrying the Maharashtra Today's story can been seen below.
Maharashtra Today's story on the same has since been taken down. However, one can access an archive of a cached version of the story here.
Several concerned residents took to Twitter to ask whether the lockdown had been extended.
@CMOMaharashtra Respected CM Thnx 4 ur prompt action in da state that my family and I are safe today from #CoronoVirus. I've heard that lockdown in #Maharashtra has been extended till 30th April. Please confirm.— RAHUL ANANT (@rahant1981) March 28, 2020
BOOM looked through both the news stories and found that they never mention an extension of the lockdown in Maharashtra.
The Times of India story headlined, 'Bombay HC interim orders get April 30 extension' states, "has directed that all interim orders operating till Thursday would be extended to April 30 ...".
It further talks about the court's orders on demolition and eviction of properties and says, "...and earlier demolition or eviction and dispossession orders passed by any court in the state would be held in abeyance till then."
While the Maharashtra Today story has been taken down, they have put up a cautionary note stating that their story has been misinterpreted about the lockdown being extended. "So be aware and don't forward it without reading the content", it states. The note can be seen below, and can be found here.
The Bombay HC recognised a disruption to its functioning due to the ongoing lockdown in an order on March 26. The order extends interim orders, expiring before April 30, till then. It puts orders of demolition, eviction and dispossession in a state of abeyance, and it asks governments and municipal authorities to be slow to coercive actions, so as to prevent people from coming to court. Nowhere in the order does the court mention an extension of the ongoing lockdown till April 30. The order can be read here, and reporting of the order can be read with Livelaw here.
BOOM did not find any news report or an official communication stating that the HC was extending lockdown in Maharashtra till April 30
The state government of Maharashtra first declared a statewide lockdown on March 23 to combat the spread of COVID-19, that was supposed to extend till March 31. However, this announcement preceded a nationwide lockdown declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi the next day, which put the whole country under a lockdown till April 14.
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