Chennai, April 26
The Madras High Court on Monday castigated the Election Commission over the Covid-19 second wave in the country, holding it “singularly” responsible for the spread, called it the “the most irresponsible institution” and even said its officials might be booked on murder charge.
Edit: Death by apathy
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The EC allowing political parties to organise rallies and meetings led to the spread of the pandemic, the court said. “Were you (living) on another planet,” the Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy asked EC officials. The Bench made the stinging observation on a PIL by Karur AIADMK candidate and Transport Minister MR Vijayabaskar for the April 6 Assembly poll, seeking a direction to the authorities to ensure fair counting of votes on May 2 observing the Covid-19 protocol. When the EC counsel told the judges that all necessary steps were underway, the Bench shot back saying by allowing the political parties to take out rallies and meetings, it (the EC) paved the way for the resurgence of the second wave of the deadly virus.
Irked over the submission of the EC counsel that all precautionary measures would be taken at the counting centres, the Chief Justice replied the EC must be “singularly” held responsible for the second wave of the pandemic in the country.
The Bench said the EC officials might be booked under murder charges.
The judges also orally warned that they would not hesitate to stop the counting of votes on May 2.
“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 will be able to enjoy the rights that a democratic republic guarantees,” the judges said. — PTI