The Election Commission of India (ECI) has moved the Madras High Court seeking directions to media reporting oral comments made by the court.
The plea comes in the wake of reports of the Court's Monday's (26/04/2021) oral observations that the ECI should "be put on murder charges probably" for failing to ensure compliance of COVID-19 protocol during election rallies.
The ECI’s petition comes after Madras HC's observation on the poll body “Singularly responsible” for the second wave of Covid-19 in the country.
The Madras HC Bench said that the officials of the Election Commission should face “murder charges” during court proceedings in a case concerning COVID protocol for vote counting in Tamil Nadu.
The affidavit filed by Chief Electoral Officer at Tamil Nadu, Satyabrata Sahoo, has highlighted that the said oral observation was not finally recorded in the order passed that day in the case.
Court's oral observations:
The court said that,
“Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19, the officers of the election commission should probably be booked on the charges of murder."
The Court pointed out that the Commission had failed to enforce COVID norms regarding wearing of facemasks, use of sanitizers, and maintaining social distancing during election campaigning, despite court orders.
It included that it will stop the counting scheduled on May 2nd if the ECI does not put in place a blueprint of a plan to ensure the following of COVID19 protocol on the counting day.
These reports have created a bad image to the ECI as an independent constitutional agency that is entrusted with the constitutional responsibility of conducting elections, the plea stated. It added that such aspersions have the potential of lowering the faith of the masses in democracy and democratic processes.