Covid-19: EC broad pointers on polls challenged in Gujarat High Court


Ahmedabad, August 24

The broad pointers issued by the Election Commission of India for holding polls throughout the coronavirus pandemic was on Monday challenged within the Gujarat High Court as being in “complete contravention” of a Union Ministry of Home Affairs round that prohibits any giant gathering.

As per a contemporary set of pointers issued by the ECI on Friday final, voters shall be supplied gloves whereas utilizing EVMs and COVID-19 sufferers in quarantine shall be allowed to vote within the final hour of polling, amongst different measures.

The submission in opposition to the ECI pointers has been made in a draft modification to a PIL filed earlier looking for postponement of yet-to-be-declared schedule for by-elections to eight meeting seats in Gujarat in view of the pandemic.

Petitioner Farsu Goklani mentioned the ECI pointers for conducting common and by-elections throughout the pandemic is in “complete contravention” of the round issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on July 29.

The MHA round strictly prohibits “social/political/ ports/leisure/educational/cultural/non secular capabilities and different giant congregations, Goklani mentioned within the plea.

The petition has sought the ECI pointers to be quashed additionally as a result of, it claimed, the ballot physique didn’t seek the advice of the Central Government earlier than issuing them.

It mentioned as per the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the ECI can defer an election after consulting the Central Government, and if the latter certifies that it’s tough to carry the election.

The draft modification to the PIL moved by the petitioner mentioned the ECI pointers weren’t in consonance with the July 29 order of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

“The risk of conducting elections following the prescribed guidelines from the EC in the middle of such a pandemic is much higher and is not worth taking,” it mentioned.

The matter is prone to come up for listening to on August 31 earlier than the division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala.

In its response to the PIL, the ECI had advised the HC early final week that it’s assessing the COVID-19 state of affairs, and can take acceptable choices on whether or not to announce elections or defer them after following due course of as prescribed in regulation.

The ECI had additionally mentioned it was within the strategy of framing broad pointers, for common election/by-elections throughout COVID-19, which had been ultimately issued on Friday (August 21).

The PIL has sought postponement of by-elections to eight meeting seats — Dhari, Abdasa, Limbdi, Gadhda, Dang, Karjan, Morbi and Kaprada – which fell vacant following resignation of sitting Congress MLAs.

As per the ECI pointers, voters shall be supplied gloves whereas utilizing EVMs and people in quarantine can vote within the final hour of polling.

Also, a separate set of pointers could be issued for voters residing in areas notified as “containment zones”, with the choice of postal poll for electors who’re marked as individuals with disabilities and people above 80 years of age.

Electors who’re COVID-19 constructive or are suspected of getting the an infection and in quarantine at residence or at an establishment may also train the postal poll choice, the ECI has mentioned. PTI



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