The Gwalior bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court on Saturday directed nine district magistrates to register offence by invoking penal provisions of Disaster Management Act and Indian Penal Code not only against the defaulting members of the congregation but also against political/governmental/state or social functionaries in whose name or at whose behest the congregation is organised.

The High Court said that if district magistrates of Gwalior, Guna, Morena, Bhind, Vidisha, Ashoknagar, Datia, Shivpuri and Sheopur fail to comply with its directive, then they will be liable for contempt of court.

Advocate Ashish Pratap Singh had filed a public interest litigation against organising election, political rallies where Covid safety norms are flouted with impunity in Gwalior-Chambal region.

The High Court, after hearing of district collectors and SPs of five districts, namely, Morena, Bhind, Gwalior, Datia and Shivpuri where by-elections are to be held shortly, observed that the common thread visible from their revelation made to court was that though all out efforts are being made by them to ensure compliance of Covid-19 protocol, breaches occur because of ignorance and lack of civic sense among people at large.

The practical problem pointed out by collectors was that in the given circumstances it is not advisable to employ force against large number of people since such step would cause greater damage than resolving the issue.

The leader is supposed to lead by example, which can best be demonstrated by following the rule of law and preventing the breach of law, they said. The voters look up to their representatives in political field and emulate conduct of their leaders. The political and government functionaries are duty bound to set examples of good conduct before citizens.

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