By LE Desk

Chennai, March 26: The Madras High Court on Friday directed the Election Commission authorities to instruct their subordinates to strictly enforce the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) prescribed by the Health department, in view of the recent spurt in COVID-19 cases in poll-bound Tamil Nadu.

The Election Commission should ensure that the norm of mandatory distance is maintained and masks strictly used while canvassing and polling, it said, news agency PTI reported.

The governments in the state and the centre should also extend necessary assistance for the implementation of the same, the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said.

The court made the directions while disposing of a PIL petition from advocate Thondan Subramani, seeking strict implementation of COVID-19 guidelines in the state, where single-phase elections are scheduled on April 6, even as there has been an upward trend of new infections.

The state reported 1,971 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, with the active cases jumping to 11,318.

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