EC responsible for second Covid-19 wave; should book officials for murder, says Madras High Court

When Election Commission's lawyers said that all measures to prevent the Covid-19 spread were taken, the Chief Justice replied, “Were you on another planet when political rallies were being held?”
Madras High Court
Madras High CourtWikiCommons

The Madras High Court has said that the Election Commission (EC) is “singularly responsible” for the second Covid-19 wave in India. “Election Commission officers should be booked on murder charges probably,” Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee said.

Justice Banerjee rebuked the Election Commission for not ensuring Covid-19 norms during election rallies. When the EC’s lawyers told the Court that the Commission took measures to curb Covid-19 spread at election rallies, the Chief Justice replied, “Were you on another planet when political rallies were being held?”

The Madras HC has warned of stopping vote counting on May 2, unless the Commission has a proper plan of ensuring Covid-19 rules and regulations. The Chief Justice observed that the situation is of survival and protection now. Everything else comes next, he added. The HC ordered the EC to consult the TN Health Secretary and put the plan in place before April 30.

Four states and a Union Territory held Assembly elections, and the counting of votes is on May 2. Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry went to the polls on April 6, 2021. West Bengal and Assam went to the polls in March and April as they had a multi-phased election. Assam has completed its three-phased election, but West Bengal’s seventh phase went to the polls on April 26 (today) and has another phase left. West Bengal is seeing record numbers of daily Covid-19 cases and has a strain named after the state. The situation in the eastern state is bad. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) had asked the Election Commission the last few phases, but their requests were turned down.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu are also witnessing a record number of daily Covid-19 numbers. On Sunday, while Kerala reported 28,469 daily cases, Tamil Nadu reported 15,659 cases. Many blamed the election rallies and roadshows behind the rising Covid-19 cases in the states that went to the polls. Tamil Nadu and Kerala have imposed strict restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19. Tamil Nadu had a lockdown on Sunday, while Kerala imposed lockdown-like restrictions on weekends.

Meanwhile, India crossed 3.5 lakh Covid-19 cases for the second day in a row as it reported 352,991 daily cases and over 2,800 deaths.

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