Madhya Pradesh HC asks state functionaries, parties to abide by Covid-19 protocol
The court’s order was passed on a petition which brought to the attention huge gatherings in meetings held by political parties.Updated: Sep 21, 2020, 10:54 IST
Talking a serious note of huge gatherings during political parties’ meetings in the state as highlighted in a petition, Madhya Pradesh High Court’s Gwalior bench, in its interim order, asked political parties and functionaries to strictly abide by Covid-19 protocol, as per the order.
The court’s order was passed on a petition on Friday filed by one Ashish Pratap Singh who brought to the attention of the court huge gatherings in meetings held by political parties in various constituencies which are to witness bypolls by November end. The petitioner urged the court to direct authorities to take action against political parties. A copy of the order came to light on Sunday night.
The double bench of the court comprising of Justice Sheel Nagu and Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava said, “It is undisputed that Covid-19 pandemic situation is on the rise. Various instructions and precautionary guidelines have been issued from time to time by the central government/state government to contain the aftermath. In the present petition, allegations are made against the political functionaries, who are supposed to be a role model for persons they represent. It is urged that a leader ought to lead by example.”
The court said, “Though learned counsel for the petitioner has filed various photographs showing gatherings of a lot of people at a place, at this stage the said photographs cannot be connected to any incident as alleged without sufficient evidence. However, if the photographs filed are taken to be of recent congregations as alleged, then the political functionaries/administrative authorities appear to be acting irresponsibly. Law, whether statutory or in shape of executive instructions, deserves respect and obedience, as much from a common man as from a leader, a political functionary and even the head of State. This court is reminded of the maxim “Be you ever so high, the Law is above you””.
The court further said, “Therefore, as an interim measure, in the interest of public at large, rather in the interest of the nation, we trust and expect that till next date of hearing political functionaries and the functionaries of the state shall strictly abide by the ‘Covid-19 protocol’ prescribed by the central government, state government and the district magistrate of the concerned district from time to time for regulating the congregation of any nature.”
The court appointed advocates Sanjay Dwivedi, Raju Sharma and VD Sharma as amicus curiae ‘to assist this court for rendering justice’.
The next date of hearing is fixed on September 28, 2020.
State BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said, “Congress party leaders have been violating and ignoring Covid-19 related protocol right from day one. When Congress was in power it didn’t implement the central government’s advisory on the disease and now when it’s in the opposition, its leaders are hardly seen wearing masks. The BJP is for strict compliance of all Covid-19 related orders and advisory.”
State Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said, “The way huge gatherings are being organised in BJP’s rallies and by their own admission is really shocking. The BJP government is not taking any action in this regard for obvious reasons. There should be FIRs against organisers of such rallies and events of the BJP.”