The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday told the Madras High Court there was no need to clamp a lockdown in the state on Saturday, a day ahead of counting of votes polled in the April 6 assembly elections, saying May 1 is already a holiday on account of May Day. Advocate General Vijay Narayan made the submission to the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy when the issue of alleged shortage of Remdesivir vaccine, beds and ventilators and diversion of oxygen cylinders to other states came up for further hearing. The court had taken up the matter on its own.
The submission also comes in the wake of the first bench's suggestion to the Tamil Nadu government and Puducherry administration to consider declaring complete lockdown on May 1 and May 2. Elections were held in the neighbouring union territory also on April 6 The Election Commission and the Tamil Nadu government had seriously considered the suggestions of the bench on April 27 and the directive to strictly observe Covid-19 protocols on May 2, the AG said.
On April 26, the bench had made a scathing attack on the EC accusing it of being 'singularly' responsible for the resurgence of the second wave of Covid-19, slamming it for allowing it to hold rallies by political parties in the run up to the polls. The AG told the judges that the EC has passed a detailed order on Wednesday in this regard. He further said that complete lock down on May 1 would also affect next phase of covid-19 vaccination, in which all over 18 years would be covered.
There would, however, be a complete lock down on May 2, as it happens to be Sunday, in lines with a Tamil Nadu government announcement earlier, he added. The Puducherry Government Pleader informed the bench that lockdown in the Union Territory had already been extended till May 3.
The bench then adjourned the matter by a day with a direction to the AG to submit a report on the preventive measures in the state borders, Covid-19 preparedness and the media guidelines on the counting day.