The Madras High Court on Friday held the Election Commission of India responsible for not stopping political parties from organising election rallies amidst coronavirus crisis across the country. Chief Justice of Madras High Court Sanjib Banerjee went on to say that officials of Election Commission (EC) should be booked for murder.
The High Court stated, "Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19. Election Commission officers should be booked on murder charges probably." It warned EC that it will stop counting of votes on May 2 if a proper plan to ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols is not put in place.
Justice Banerjee said it was distressing to see that constitutional authorities like EC had to be reminded of the fact that the public health is of paramount importance and "it is only when a citizen survives that he'll be able to enjoy the rights that a democratic republic guarantees".
When the counsel representing EC said that measures had been taken to curb COVID-19 transmission, Justice Banerjee asked EC if it was "on another planet when election rallies were being held".
The High Court directed EC and Chief Election Officer of Tamil Nadu to draft COVID-19 protocol for the counting day in consultation with the Health Secretary, and to submit the same by April 30.
Edited by Mehak Agarwal