Madras High Court ‘singularly’ blames ECI for second COVID-19 wave

Insight Online News

Chennai, Apr 26 : The Madras High Court on Monday came down

heavily on the Election Commission of India (ECI) for not banning political

rallies and ‘singularly’ blamed the ECI for the second wave of COVID-19

in the county.

The Court also warned that it would be forced to stay the counting process

on May two if strict COVID-19 protocol was not devised by the ECI.

On a petition filed by Transport Minister M R Vijayabhaskar seeking a direction

to the ECI to strictly adhere to the safety measures and ensure fair counting, the

First Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar

Ramamoorthy slammed the ECI for not stopping political parties that were

deliberately abusing the Covid-19 protocol during their political rallies in the run

up to the single phase Assembly elections held on April six.

The Bench observed that “at no cost can counting result in a catalyst for a further

surge, politics or no politics, whether the counting takes place in a staggered manner

or is deferred.”

In an oral observation, the Bench asked “Were you on another planet when political

rallies were being held?”

“Election Commission Officers should probably be booked on murder charges,” the

bench said.

“Public health is of paramount importance and it is distressing that constitutional

authorities have to be reminded in such regard. It is only when a citizen survives

that he will be able to enjoy the rights that a democratic republic guarantees,” the

Chief Justice noted.

However, the ECI contended that necessary safety measures have been put in

place.

Observing that the situation now is of survival and protection, the bench directed

the ECI to file a detailed report by April 30 on the blueprint of Covid-19 protocol

for the counting day after a detailed consultation with the Health Department

Secretary.

UNIINDIA

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