Election Commission, higher courts, govt failed to see risks from holding polls: Allahabad HC

The Allahabad High Court observed on Tuesday that the Election Commission, the Higher Courts and the Government failed to fathom the disastrous consequences of permitting the elections in few States and the panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh.

According to a report by Live Law, the court said that the COVID-19 infection had not reached the village population in its first wave last year, it has now spread to the villages.

"The state government is having a tough time in controlling the spread of novel coronavirus in urban areas, and it would be very difficult to conduct the test, detect and treat the village population found suffering from novel coronavirus. The state lacks preparation and resources for the same at present," the Allahabad High Court said, reported Bar and Bench.

The observations were part of an order passed by single-judge Justice Siddharth granting anticipatory bail to a builder based in Ghaziabad, near Delhi. A case had been filed against the builder by Uttar Pradesh Police over an alleged property possession default.

The court observed that on account of the recent panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh, a large number of FIRs had been lodged in the villages.

"Even otherwise, the crime rate in the village is quite high in the state. Keeping in view the overall situation of the villages after the panchayat elections, a large number of accused persons may be infected and their infection may not have been detected," it added.

In related development, the Allahabad High Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh government and the state election commission to rethink the amount of compensation for families of polling officers, who died due to COVID-19 during panchayat elections, and observed that the amount must at least be to the tune of Rs 1 crore.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Siddharth Verma and Justice Ajit Kumar n Tuesday made this observation while hearing a Public Interest Litigation on the spread of the pandemic in the state and conditions of quarantine centres.

"To compensate the loss of life of the family's bread earner and that too because of a deliberate act on part of the State and the State Election Commission to force them to perform duties in absence of RT-PCR support, the compensation must be at least to the tune of Rs one crore. We hope that the State Election Commission and the government will rethink the amount of compensation and come back to us on the next date fixed," it observed.

On the death of 20 patients in a hospital in Meerut, the court observed that even if it is a case of suspected COVID death "we are of the view that all such cases of death should be taken as COVID deaths and no hospital can be permitted to hold these cases as non-COVID cases so as to reduce number of COVID deaths in that hospital".

(With inputs from PTI)

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