HC asks about action taken over violation of guidelines at Panchamasali rally

Thousands participated in the Panchamasali community rally held in Bengaluru on February 21.   | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO BY SUDHAKARA JAIN

The High Court of Karnataka on Monday directed the State government and the city police to submit a report on the action taken over the violation of COVID-19 norms during a rally organised on February 21 seeking greater reservation for the Panchamasali Lingayat community under the Other Backward Classes category.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S. Vishwajith Shetty issued the direction while hearing a PIL petition by M/s Letzkit Foundation on the violation of COVID-19 norms during gatherings, particularly those in which political leaders participate. The Bench referred to reports in the media that indicated that a large number of people at the rally were not wearing masks or maintaining social distancing.

Legislation enacted by the State government allows the imposition of fine on both the organisers of the event as well as individual violators.

The court, during earlier proceedings on the petition, had made it clear that the police and other designated authorities should enforce penal action over COVID-19 norm violations to prevent a spread of the infection because of mass gatherings.

Meanwhile, the Bench also directed the government to submit the new regulations of prescribing fines on violators, as per the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020, which came into force on February 18, 2021.

The rally

The rally, which saw the participation of thousands from the community, a Lingayat-Veerashaiva sub-sect, was held in Bengaluru as part of the culmination of a padayatra by Basava Jayamruthyunjaya Swami of Koodala Sangama Panchamasali Peetha and Vachananda Swami of the Harihara Panchamasali Peetha.

Their specific demand was for quota for the community under 2A category (which offers 15% reservation in education and government jobs).

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 4:46:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-asks-about-action-taken-over-violation-of-guidelines-at-panchamasali-rally/article33966809.ece

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