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Madras HC directs Election Commission to ensure that COVID 19 norms are followed during rally

Jass Kaur Bindra

The Madras High Court directed the Election Commission to ensure that COVID norms are followed during election rallies. This order was passed in accordance with the State Legislative Assembly elections in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Public Interest Litigation came to Madras High Court against the campaigns amid rising Covid 19. The petition demanded the court to restrict the political parties from conducting rallies.

Madras High Court refused the plea of halting Election rallies. But the Court took steps to ensure safety as part of public policy. The high court directed the Election Commission to ensure that covid norms are strictly followed, by all the Political organisations.

The PIL stated “Covid cases are already rising at a stark rate and if ban is not placed on the campaigns and political rallies then it will lead to crowding of places by public leading to an expeditious spike of covid tally.”

The petition was heard by a principal bench of Madras High Court. Chief Justice Sanjeeb Banerjee and Justice Senthil Kumar Ramamoorthi dealt the case.

Petitioners stated, “He had submitted a representation to union government and state government on March 2nd to stop campaigning due to rising covid-19 cases but had not received the reply and hence he was forced to move to the court.”

Court stated “there is a stark rise in Covid cases in the recent past in the state and the second wave of infection is in the offing.”

The polling of the election in Tamil Nadu has to take place. Elections in Tamil Nadu will take place in a single phase. Court said that since elections are so close it cannot halt the election rallies but effective measures against Covid 19, so as to ensure public safety can be taken.

The Bench stated, “It’s not possible to interfere with the election process at this juncture and urge political parties to ensure that people who attend rallies and public meetings and candidates wear mass and adhere to physical distancing norms to keep themselves safe from the virus.”

The matter of public interest litigation got heated with the death of 10 persons due to covid- 19 infection. The bench ordered Election Commission of India to ensure that all meetings of election process should be in accordance with the covid-19 norms.
As per statistical records 1385 new cases were found in Tamil Nadu. The rise in cases when two three digits in three cities of Tamil Nadu. The cities are Coimbatore, Chennai and Chengalpattu.

Hence, the Court ensured that covid norms are followed and dismissed the Public Interest Litigation.