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Delhi HC grants ECI time to file reply on violation of COVID-19 norms in poll campaigns, rallies

ANI | Updated: Aug 23, 2021 13:49 IST

New Delhi [India], August 23 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Monday granted more time to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to file a reply on a petition seeking action against political leaders and officers who violated COVID-19 norms during assembly election rallies in five states and campaigning held there earlier this year.
The bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh granted time to ECI to file its response, after finding no urgency in the matter.
Meanwhile, Advocate Sidhant Kumar appearing for ECI strongly opposed the plea and submitted that there is territorial jurisdiction in the matter of the elections held in five different states.
He also called the petition malafide and sought its dismissal.
An intervention application moved by Dr Vikram Singh, former Director-General of Police (DGP) and Chairman of think tank CASC in an ongoing matter, also sought direction to Election Commission to publish prominently on its website, mobile apps, election materials and other platforms the "Election Commission Guidelines for the conduct of general elections/bye-elections during Covid-19" published in August 2020.

Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for the petitioner also sought direction to recover the penalty from all political parties on the basis of the number of crowds claimed to be in roadshows and rallies, which was in violation of COVID-19 guidelines of the Election Commission.
It also sought direction to lodge FIRs against all-star campaigners and leaders of all political parties who openly violated masking and social distancing guidelines of the Election Commission.
The plea also prayed for the prosecution of officials of the Election Commission who failed to enforce their own mandatory COVID guidelines despite a legal representation of the Petitioner.
The plea sought seizure of all electronic evidence with the Election Commission with respect to rallies and roadshows conducted by political parties.
Earlier, the Delhi High Court had issued notice to the Centre, Election commission of India on plea to ensure masks are worn during poll campaigns during ongoing elections in various places. (ANI)