Madras High Court shreds irresponsible Election Commission

Madras High Court Law Insider
Madras High Court Law Insider

Sakshi Chhabra

The Madras High Court (HC) has warned the Election Commission (EC) that it will stop counting of votes to five state assemblies on May 2, if the top polling body failed to put in place a proper plan to ensure COVID-19 protocol is followed.

The HC on Monday April 26 said the Election Commission officials should be booked for murder and slammed the institution for allowing political rallies amid a deadly second wave of COVID-19.

The Election Commission is singularly responsible for the second wave of covid situation in the state and the officers should be booked on murder charges, HC observed.

The court has further intimated to stop the counting of votes if a blueprint is not in place.

The Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthil Kumar Ramamoorthy was hearing a petition raising concerns over facilities to ensure COVID-19 protocol during vote counting at the Karur constituency in Tamil Nadu.

“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’ll be able to enjoy the rights that a democratic republic guarantees,” said Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee.

The Chief Justice orally remarked, “Were you on another planet when the election rallies were held?”

After listening to COVID precautions being taken by the Election Commission at the Karur counting booth, the Court said: Similar appropriate measures have to be adopted at every counting center. Regular sanitization, maintaining proper hygienic conditions, mandatory wearing of masks and adherence to social distancing norms should continue.”

The Madras High Court then told the Chief Election Officer in Tamil Nadu to communicate with the Health Secretary and draft a COVID-19 protocol for the counting day and submit the same on April 30, when the court will hear the case next.

The EC has immediately stopped roadshows and rallies as well as limited the public gatherings to minimum number of people.

This petition was filed by Tamil Nadu Transport Minister MR Vijay Baskar seeking covid compliance halls in Kaur constituency, from where he contested. Orders are expected later today.

Related Post