A day after the Election Commission of India was pulled up by the Madras High Court for failing to ensure COVID-19 norms are followed in political rallies, the poll body has banned victory processions on May 2, which is when the results of the Assembly elections in four states and a Union Territory will be announced.
In an order dated April 27, the Election Commission said that in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, the Commission has decided to impose more stringent provisions to be followed during the process of counting, in addition to existing COVID-19 guidelines issued on August 21, 2020
“No victory procession after the counting on 2.5.2021 shall be permissible. Not more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorized representative to receive the certificate of election from the Returning Officer concerned. This should be brought to notice of all Concerned,” the order read.
A livid Madras High Court had pulled up the Election Commission on Monday for failing to ensure COVID-19 norms are followed, observing that the poll body is ‘singularly responsible’ for the second wave of COVID-19 in the country. The EC allowing political parties to take out rallies and meetings had led to the spread of the pandemic, the court said.
The bench was hearing a public interest writ petition filed by Karur AIADMK candidate and Transport Minister M R Vijayabaskar for the April 6 Assembly elections, seeking a direction to authorities to ensure fair counting of votes on May 2 in Karur by taking effective steps and proper arrangements with COVID-19 protocols.
The High Court had directed the Election Commission to hold a consultation with the State Health Secretary and place on record a plan to enforce COVID-19 protocol on counting day by April 30.
"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,” Chief Justice Banerjee told the Election Commission on Monday.