The Allahabad High Court has come down heavily on the State Election Commission over violation of Covid protocols during the ongoing panchayat polls in the state. As many as 135 teachers, shiksha mitras and investigators assigned on panchayat election duty, have lost their lives.
The HC issued notices to UP State Election Commission (UPSEC) and sought an explanation on why it failed to check non-compliance of Covid guidelines, LiveLaw reported. A division bench of Justices Siddhartha Verma and Ajir Kumar also asked why action should not be taken against the commission and its officials.
"Why those responsible for Covid violations not prosecuted," the bench asked.
The court also directed the commission to "take immediate measures in the remaining phases of panchayat elections to ensure Covid guidelines are complied with, else action will be taken against officials involved in the election process".
"It is reported that during recent phases of panchayat elections, Covid guidelines were violated. It appears that neither police nor the state Election Commission did anything to save people on election duty from getting infeccted by the virus," the court observed.
The court added that "it is a matter of shame" that deaths are being reported due to oxygen shortage.
"If after seven decades of attaining freedom with so many heavy industries in place, we are unable to provide oxygen to our citizens, it is a matter of shame," the HC said.
Polling in the three phases of the Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections have already taken place in the state. The fourth phase polling will take place on April 29. Results will be declared on May 2.