Tamil Nadu

Citing COVID-19, retired govt. doctor moves HC for postponement of polls

A retired joint director of the Medical Services Recruitment Board has filed a public interest litigation petition in the Madras High Court, seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission to postpone the urban local body polls till the COVID-19 situation improves.

Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu on Wednesday accepted a request made by senior counsel S. Prabakaran, representing the PIL petitioner, M. Nakkeeran of Chennai, to hear the case on Thursday or Friday.

In his affidavit, the litigant stated that he had 35 years of medical experience, including 31 years in government service. Claiming that the COVID-19 positivity rate in the State had increased from 1% on December 30 to 17% on January 17, the petitioner said there was widespread community transmission of the novel coronavirus, and this was evident from a 17-fold increase in the positivity rate in 20 days.

‘Not the right time’

He said around 25,000 new COVID-19 cases were being reported in the State on a daily basis and contended that it was not the right time to conduct the local body elections, especially when 31% of the population in Chennai and around 40% in other districts had not been fully vaccinated.

Referring to the flouting of COVID-19 norms in the election rallies being organised in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh despite strict guidelines having been issued by the Election Commission of India, the litigant said it would be difficult for the respective election commissions to ensure strict adherence to such norms in any election.

Further, noting that the urban local body polls in the State had been long overdue, the petitioner said no harm would be caused if the elections were postponed till the COVID-19 situation improved. Conducting the elections in the present scenario might prove disastrous, he feared.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 5:41:43 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/citing-covid-19-retired-govt-doctor-moves-hc-for-postponement-of-polls/article38294224.ece