After the Calcutta High Court, the Madras High Court on Monday came down hard on the Election Commission and called it the most irresponsible institution for the alleged spread of the second wave of COVID-19 in the country.
In stinging remarks, the court said EC officials may be booked under murder charges too. According to Live Law, Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee told the Election Commission's counsel "Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19".
Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee further said: "Your officers should be booked on murder charges probably".
The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy made the observation on a public interest writ, seeking a direction to authorities to ensure fair counting of votes on May 2 in Karur by taking effective steps and proper arrangements with COVID-19 protocols.
The Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee observed that the Election Commission had failed to enforce COVID-19 norms regarding wearing of facemasks, use of sanitizers and maintaining social.
The bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy while hearing a plea said: "You (EC) are the only institution responsible for the situation we are in today and You have been singularly lacking any kind of exercise of authority. You have not taken measures against political parties holding rallies despite the court saying "Maintain Covid protocol, maintain Covid protocol."
Since as many as 77 candidates are contesting in the Karur constituency, it would be very difficult to accommodate their agents in the counting hall. It may affect observance of the protocols, the petitioner alleged.
When the counsel for the EC told the judges that all necessary steps were underway, the bench retorted that by allowing the political parties to take out rallies and meetings, it had paved the way for the resurgence of the second wave of COVID-19.
The judges also orally warned that they would not hesitate to stop the counting of votes on May 2.
(With inputs from Agencies)