Your officers should be booked for murder: Madras CJ remarks to EC

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The Election Commission of India was slammed by the Madras High Court on Monday for allowing political rallies during the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Live Law.

As per the report, Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Sanjib Banerjee, clearly agitated, told the Election Commission’s counsel that “your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19”.

The Chief Justice went so far as to state, “your officers should be booked on murder charges probably”.

Despite court orders, the Commission had failed to follow COVID norms regarding the use of face masks, sanitizers, and maintaining social distance during election campaigning, according to the Chief Justice. “Were you on another planet when the election rallies were held?”, Chief Justice asked the ECI counsel.

The Court has warned that if the ECI does not put in place a blueprint of a strategy to ensure that the COVID19 protocol is followed on the counting day which is scheduled on 2 May, the counting will be halted, reported Live Law.

“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”, the Chief Justice added.

“The situation now is of survival and protection. Everything else comes next”, the Chief Justice said.

As per the reports, the bench, which also included Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, ordered the Election Commission of India and the Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer to consult with the Health Secretary and devise a schedule for adhering to the COVID-19 protocol on the counting day.

The bench directed that the blueprint must be placed on record before it on 30 April.

“The matter will appear on April 30 to review the situation when a complete picture as to adequate steps having been taken will be clear”, the bench said in the order.

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