Kerala

Plea in Supreme Court against Kerala swearing-in event

Supreme Court. File.  

An activist has filed a petition in the Supreme Court accusing the Kerala government of “flouting” COVID-19 norms by organising the swearing-in ceremony of the newly-elected LDF government under Pinarayi Vijayan on May 20 before a gathering of over 500 invitees in Thiruvananthapuram, which is already under “triple lockdown”.

“The Government of Kerala, which on one end is enforcing lockdowns and forcing common public to confine themselves to the four walls of their homes, give up their livelihood and other pleasures, is on the other hand spending huge amounts from the State Exchequer for organising a super-spreader public event to show its strength and celebrate its victory in the recently held election,” the petition filed by activist K.M. Shajahan, represented by advocate Usha Nandini V., said.

‘Clear abuse of power’

The swearing-in ceremony would be a case of the fence itself eating the crops. The “reckless act” was a “clear abuse of power”, the petition said.

Politicians in power themselves scorned lockdown norms while appealing to the public to observe COVID-19 protocols. It was a case of creating two classes of citizens, it stated.

Mr. Shajahan asked the apex court to issue a standard operating procedure (SOP) for COVID-19 that bans more than 50 persons from attending public gatherings of any hue.

“Direct Union of India and all the States to issue a uniform SOP strictly banning any kind of public gathering with more than 50 people at any circumstances for a minimum period of one month,” the petition urged the court

“The newly elected government, which came to power upholding ideals of equality and scientific temper and understanding the will of people, ought to have set an example by conducting the swearing-in ceremony on a virtual platform,” the plea said.

The very leaders voted to power to enforce COVID-19 norms and save lives were themselves defying them. The government cannot promote itself at the cost of the lives of its people, it noted.

It’s unfair: petition

“The State of Kerala conducting an oath ceremony in the Central Stadium with more than 750 people when people are falling dead in every nook and corner due to the surge in the COVID-19 cases is unfair,” it claimed.

The petition urged the court to direct the government to conduct the oath ceremony on a virtual platform or have the formalities completed at the Raj Bhavan before a limited audience. There was plenty of space at the Raj Bhavan to observe physical distancing, it pointed out.

Mr. Shajahan asked the court to issue show-cause notice to the Kerala Chief Secretary for organising the swearing-in ceremony without adhering to COVID-19 norms.


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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 3:37:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/plea-in-supreme-court-against-kerala-swearing-in-event/article34588745.ece

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