Amid a surge of COVID cases in India, the Election Commission of India has banned all victory processions on or after the day of counting of votes for the Assembly elections.
Counting for the Assembly polls in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu as well as Puducherry is scheduled to take place on 2 May.
The poll body also said that not more than two persons will be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorised representative to receive the certificate of election from the returning officer concerned.
The decision came a day after the Madras High Court on Monday pulled up the Election Commission of India for allowing political rallies amid a deadly second wave of COVID-19.
Madras HC Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee reprimanded the EC for failing to ensure COVID-19 norms were being followed during rallies, observing that the poll body is “singularly responsible” for the second wave of COVID-19.
"Election Commission officers should be booked on murder charges probably,” Justice Sanjib Banerjee remarked, as per LiveLaw.
Later in the day, the Madras High Court in its order stated that at no cost can counting become a catalyst for a further surge.
"Despite the court's repeated orders regarding COVID protocol, its significance may have been lost on the Election Commission. Public health is of paramount importance and it is distressing that Constitutional authorities have to be reminded in such regard," the court said in its order.
On 22 April, after being pulled up by the Calcutta High Court for the second time, the EC announced guidelines for the electoral campaign, mandating that poll rallies could only be conducted with a maximum of 500 people. The EC further added that road shows and vehicle rallies were to be banned with immediate effect.
(With inputs from LiveLaw.)
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