Election Commission moves Supreme Court against High Court’s “Murder” Rap

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The Election Commission has complained to the Supreme Court against what it called “blatantly disparaging remarks” by the Madras High Court over holding polls amid the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The high court on April 26 said the Election Commission “should probably be booked for murder” for not stopping political rallies for Tamil Nadu election amid a Covid spike. The high court later said in its order that “at no cost can counting become a catalyst for a further surge”. Votes for elections to four states and one Union Territory will be counted tomorrow.

“The Madras High Court made blatantly disparaging and derogatory remarks,” the Election Commission told the Supreme Court today. In its plea, the Election Commission said the Madras High Court “despite being an independent constitutional authority made serious allegations of murder on another independent constitutional authority without any basis, which has ultimately dented both the institutions.”

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah will hear the Election Commission’s plea on Monday. Justice Chandrachud while hearing Covid related issues on Friday said courts must avoid making unnecessary remarks in sensitive cases.

Vote-counting should take place only with adherence to sanitisation, hygiene, masks and distancing norms, the Madras High Court ruled on April 26. It told the Election Commission to make a plan to enforce Covid rules tomorrow, and without it the counting could be stopped.

The high court’s order came on a petition by Tamil Nadu Transport Minister MR Vijayabaskar, who sought Covid compliance during counting in Karur, from where he contested the election.

High courts in other states like Delhi are also hearing Covid related cases, especially the shortage of oxygen. Hospitals in the national capital must be given their full quota of medical oxygen today “by whatever means”, the Delhi High Court told the centre as it heard petitions on how the health infrastructure is trying to cope with the pandemic.

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