Election Commission shredded by Madras High Court: "Will Stop Counting Votes..."
The Madras High Court told the Election Commission, "Your institution is solely accountable for the second wave of COVID-19."
The Election Commission is solely responsible for the second wave of Covid and should most likely be charged with murder, the Madras High Court said today, in the harshest condemnation yet of crowded campaigns for five state elections that persisted in the midst of raging virus outbreaks. If a "blueprint" is not in order by Sunday, the court has threatened to halt the counting of votes.
According to reports, the Election Commission will respond once it receives the order. The Election Commission was told by the Madras High Court that "the second wave of COVID-19 is solely your institution's liability. Possibly, your officers should be charged with murder."
Despite court orders, the election body refused to follow Covid safety laws such as masks, sanitisers, and distance during campaigning, as per the High Court.
Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee inquired, "Are you on another planet when the election rallies were held?"
The High Court also requested a proposal by Friday for enforcing Covid rules on May 2 - the day of the results. The counting could even be halted without it, according to the High Court.
"The public's wellbeing is critical. It's troubling that constitutional officials should be reminded of their responsibilities. Only by surviving will a person be able to enjoy the privileges that a democratic republic offers" the court commented.
Today's orders are due to arrive later. The High Court was hearing a petition filed by Tamil Nadu Transport Minister MR Vijayabaskar, who wanted Covid enforcement in counting halls in the Karur constituency, where he ran for office.
Covid cases have erupted in Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, and Puducherry, all of which are holding elections. In just 24 hours, India recorded 3.52 lakh cases and 2,812 deaths, setting a new low.
With only three more rounds of voting left in Bengal's record eight-phase election and all other states have voted, the Election Commission halted roadshows and rallies and restricted public meetings to 500 people last Thursday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared shortly before the election body's order that he was cancelling his campaign visit to Bengal the next day due to a Covid meeting. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned why the Election Commission had waited until the Prime Minister decided to enforce Covid campaigning restrictions.
Furthermore, she also chastised the Election Commission for denying her repeated requests to combine the last few voting rounds in Bengal.