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Madhya Pradesh HC tells State, political workers to follow COVID-19 norms

High Court of Madhya Pradesh   | Photo Credit: https://mphc.gov.in/

The Gwalior Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court has directed political workers and State government officials to abide by the COVID-19 protocol prescribed for regulating congregations.

A Division Bench of Justices Sheel Nagu and Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava on September 18 expected the protocol to be “strictly abided by” at least until the next date of hearing of a public interest litigation filed by lawyer Ashish Pratap Singh.

The court observed law, whether statutory or in the shape of executive instructions, deserved respect and obedience, “as much from a common man as from a leader, a political functionary and even the head of State.” The Justices said they were reminded of the maxim “Be you ever so high, the Law is above you.”

The petitioner had prayed for a direction to the State government to restrain political parties from organising public functions, in view of the byelection pending to 28 Assembly seats, 16 in the Gwalior-Chambal region. Further, he sought action under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Representing the petitioner, Veer Singh Sisodia placed before the court photographs of gatherings, to which the Justices said they could not be connected to any incident as alleged without sufficient evidence. However, if they are indeed of recent congregations as alleged, then “the political functionaries/administrative authorities appear to be acting in an irresponsible manner.”

Further, the court appointed three lawyers as amicus curiae, tasked with reporting to the court any breach of the order so the case could be taken up at an earlier date.

“I prayed political functions of any kind, by any party, should be banned as they are further spreading the disease especially in the Gwalior-Chambal region,” Mr. Sisodia told The Hindu, while denying any political affiliations of his client. “In the name of election campaigning, human life is being threatened.”

Earlier, the judges had directed the Bhind district administration in the region to ensure protocols were followed while allowing gathering and take penal action in case of violation.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 6:29:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/madhya-pradesh-hc-tells-state-political-workers-to-follow-covid-19-norms/article32657976.ece

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