By LE Desk
Chennai, April 26: The Madras High Court today strongly pulled up the Election Commission of India for allowing political rallies even as the country is battling a deadly second wave of COVID-19.
Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee reprimanded the Election Commission for failing to ensure COVID-19 norms were followed during rallies, remarking that Election Commission is “singularly responsible” for the second wave of COVID-19, The News Minute reported.
“Election Commission officers should be booked on murder charges probably,” Justice Sanjib Banerjee remarked, as per media reports. When the election commission’s counsel said that measures have been taken to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Madras High Court Chief Justice remarked: “Were you on another planet when political rallies were being held?”
“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, as reported by The News Minute.
Tamil Nadu is one of the states that went to polls on April 6 this year. The High Court also warned that it will stop counting on May 2, which is when the results are to be declared for elections in five states and one Union Territory, if the Election Commission does not put in place a proper plan to ensure COVID-19 norms are followed.
“The situation now is of survival and protection. Everything else comes next,” the Chief Justice said.
The High Court has 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.
Tamil Nadu’s single-day coronavirus cases tally crossed the 15,000 mark on Sunday, pushing the total case count to 10.81 lakh till date. As many as 82 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 13,557 so far, the health department said.
The state registered 15,659 fresh cases while recoveries mounted to 9,63,251 today with 11,065 patients being discharged, a bulletin said. Chennai continued to constitute the bulk of the total cases accounting for 4,206 new infections, totalling 3,09,899 till date. The metropolis also leads in the number of fatalities with 4,467 people succumbing to the virus.
Tamil Nadu on Sunday observed complete lockdown, the first during the current wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with the operation of only essential services. Roads were deserted as people remained indoors.