Bengal Polls 2021: Calcutta HC pins Covid hopes on EC
The high court on Friday said it was “sure that the Election Commission of India is steering its way forward in the proper direction” after going through an affidavit filed by the poll panel on what it was doing to implement Covid guidelines.
The certificate came a day after the high court seemed to have come down heavily on the commission by saying merely issuing circulars and holding meetings on Covid guidelines would not be enough.
The division bench of Chief Justice T.B.N. Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee said the affidavit showed the “Election Commission will further push forward requisite action to obtain obedience to its direction”.
“We are sure that the Election Commission of India is steering its way forward in the proper direction and the action taken so far, as reported in the latest affidavit, which we have taken on record today,” the order says.
It adds: “The Election Commission will further push forward requisite action to obtain obedience to its direction. Any restrictive governance imposed by the Election Commission of India as regards public behaviour as regards the protective protocol in relation to Covid management shall be strictly followed and abided by the people.”
Rapped by the high court on Thursday, the commission had issued another circular restraining political parties from holding large campaign rallies.
In its affidavit on Friday, the commission informed the court about its latest circular and lawyers said the “court seemed pleased with this circular”.
The advocate for the petitioner, Srijib Chakravarty, said many people were still not wearing masks in campaign meetings. "The EC should force them to wear masks,” he said.
The bench said: “It will be within the jurisdiction of the competent authorities to enforce that masking, social distancing, etc. as required by the Covid protocol, are strictly adhered to and enforced in... Bengal.”
The bench will hear the case again on Monday.