‘All Necessary Precautions have been taken’: Kerala High Court Disposes Cases Seeking Lockdown During Election Counting Day

first_imgNews Updates’All Necessary Precautions have been taken’: Kerala High Court Disposes Cases Seeking Lockdown During Election Counting Day Lydia Suzanne Thomas27 April 2021 9:40 AMShare This – xKerala High Court’The Kerala High Court has closed proceedings seeking directions calling for prohibition on large gatherings or the declaration of lockdown in the State on May 2, 2021, given the surge in the daily numbers of those affected by COVID-19 in the state. The results of the Kerala Assembly elections will be notified on this date.A Bench of Justices Ashok Menon and CS Dias on Tuesday took up for hearing three petitions today and noted that the Kerala Government and the Election Commission had already issued directions in respect to counting day.In response to the petitioners’ request for a Court’s direction that those who flouted directives be penalised, the Court remarked that no order to the effect was required. “Regarding that we find that no specific order is required from this Court. The Government is at liberty to invoke the provisions of the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020 and take necessary action against the violators, and we are sure that the Government would be vigilant in implementing the available provisions,” the Court said.With this remark, the Court disposed of the petition.At the previous hearing of the matters, the State Government had informed the Court that any decision on a lockdown or restriction on gatherings would be taken only after an all-party meeting.On Monday, an all-party meeting had agreed to restrict gatherings in and around counting centres on May 2, following which the Government of Kerala declared that only officials on election duty, candidates, counting agents, media representatives allowed at counting centres after production of a negative RTPCR report obtained within 72 hours prior to May 2 would be permitted.Today, the Election Commission announced that victory processions after announcement of results would be prohibited.The first petition, filed by Advocate Vinod Mathew Wilson of LAW AID, through Advocate R Sivadasan of Law Link Kollam averred that the election campaigning in the run-up to the Kerala Assembly Election and the ‘high-voltage rallies by national and local parties have triggered another wave of Covid-19 in Kerala’. Because of this, the state, which went to the polls on April 6, is seeing the number of infections rising steadily, the petition states.Without a lockdown or measures to ensure that safety precautions are taken, “ardent workers, supporters and sympathizers of all political parties, national, regional, local etc. will be thronging around counting centers and almost all the streets throughout Kerala with uncontrollable convergence”, the petition expressed.Such a situation would effectively bring the entire health machinery to a standstill, the petitioner states. Therefore, a lockdown must be imposed on the day of counting, it was prayed.Wilson’s petition was admitted last week and the Election Commission and the State were directed to table their responses today.The other two petitions, filed by one AK Sreekumar and Dr S Ganapathy respectively, seek prohibitions on large gatherings on May 2.In order to prevent the uncontrolled spreading of Covid-19, only officials related to counting of votes should be allowed within and outside counting centres, the petition filed by Sreekumar states.Dr Ganapathy’s petition sought a direction to District Magistrate’s to issue orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for at least a period of 48 hours from 6 AM on May 2 so as to bar public gatherings or processions.CASE: AK Sreekumar v. EC and connected casesClick here to download the orderTagsCOVID -19 COVID-19 Cases Kerala Assembly Elections Justice Ashok Menon Justice CS Dias Next Storylast_img read more