The Kerala High Court on Friday appreciated the effort of the Election Commission and the State police in ensuring no violation of the COVID-19 protocols by any political party in connection with the counting of votes for the Assembly elections on May 2.
While closing the writ petition seeking to impose restrictions on the activities of political parties in connection with the counting of votes, a Division Bench of the court comprising Justices Devan Ramachandran and Kauser Edappagath commended the petitioner, Dr. K P Pradeep of Kannur district, for having brought this grave issue to the notice of the court.
The court said the seemingly unbridled and unrestrained euphoria of an inevitable and vital democratic exercise the local body and State Legislature elections were in full display in the last few months and one can only rue in hindsight that, perhaps, "if we had been collectively a little more careful, the present crisis could have been better contained."
"The prophylactic 'SMS' against COVID-19 Sanitiser, Mask and Social Distancing was unfortunately lost in the din of the electoral campaigns. There is a general sentiment that we let our guard down, but we cannot let it happen again," the court observed.
Considering the plea on April 30, the court had directed police and District Collectors to ensure that no assembly of people takes place in the State for four days from May 1 in connection with the counting of votes.
Banning the victory processions of political parties following the counting, the court had also directed that stringent action be taken against those who assemble thereby violating the COVID-19 protocol.
The court had directed police and Collectors to take effective and requisite steps to ensure that no social or political assemblages, meetings, gatherings, processions or parades of any kind--be that celebratory, cheering or otherwise--in violation of COVID-19 protocols, as also
directives of the Election Commission and the Government Order-- anywhere in Kerala between May 1 and May 4.
The court had given the directive in a PIL seeking to declare all kinds of public and social gatherings, processions in the name of election oriented or organisational activities by the political parties as unconstitutional and illegal during the period when the COVID-19 protocols were in force.