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Bombay High Court comes down on public functions by Ministers, people’s representatives

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court ordered on Wednesday that no politician, Minister or people’s representative will hold any public function till the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

A division bench of Justices Ravindra Ghuge and Bhalachandra Debadwar passed the order after it was brought to its notice that Maharashtra’s Cabinet Minister for Employment Guarantee & Horticulture, Sandipanrao Bhumre, held a series of public functions recently in his constituency in Paithan where people gathered in large numbers and most of them, including the Minister himself, did not follow COVID-19 hygiene protocols.

“We are pained to note that Cabinet Minister Mr. Bhumre physically held ceremonies in his constituency,” noted the bench. “Is he not duty bound to obey the diktats of the Chief Minister who, in the interest of the public at large, has appealed to both the public and people’s representatives to refrain from holding functions physically?” the court remarked.

“We will refrain from drawing any conclusion from this aspect, though we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that the Minister gave his consent for these programmes and photographs show that he wore his mask below the nose, or covering the chin, or has sometimes not worn a mask,” the bench noted.

“Do we not realise that the citizens of our country gather in large numbers when people’s representatives make a physical presence for an inauguration or bhoomi pujan?” the bench said. “Is it that the lockdown restrictions or orders passed by the court are only meant for the poor, and politicians are above the law? Is it that the politicians have the right to treat the law and our orders as a waste paper?”

The bench then took note of an intervention application filed by advocate Yuvraj Kakade, which pointed out that an FIR was filed against ceremonies conducted by Mr. Bhumre, but he was not named in the FIR as an accused.

The bench is scheduled to hear the matter on May 13.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 8:25:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bombay-high-court-comes-down-on-public-functions-by-ministers-peoples-representatives/article34545472.ece

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