The Supreme Court will deliver its verdict on the Election Commission's plea against Madras High Court remarks holding its officials responsible for the surge in Covid-19 cases and fastening them with murder charges. The court had also said that it will not restrain the media from reporting oral observations made during proceedings in public interest.
A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah had on Monday reserved the judgement on the poll body's plea and said it did not want to "demoralise" the High Courts as they are vital pillars of the democracy. The bench assured the poll panel that the High Court's remarks were not meant to "run down" a Constitutional body but may have been made “momentarily” in the flow of discussions and that's why it was not in the judicial order.
The apex court observed that various critical remarks, as alleged by the Election Commission, are often said in an open dialogue between the bar and the bench.
“Election Commission is a seasoned constitutional body, entrusted with the responsibility to ensure free and fair election in the country. It should not be rattled by the observations made. We cannot say in today's time the media will not report the discussions taking place in the court as it is also in public interest. The discussions that take place in courts are also important as is the order. Therefore, unfolding of the process in the court of law is in public interest," the bench had said. It added that the media is a “powerful watchdog” of unfolding of the process in court of law and “we cannot object to that reporting by media”.
The Election Commission had moved the top court, challenging the critical observations made by the Madras High Court holding it responsible for a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country. The ECI said that remarks were "uncalled for, blatant and disparaging".
The Madras High Court had, on April 26, castigated the Election Commission for the surge in COVID-19 cases during the second wave of the pandemic, holding it "singularly" responsible for the spread of the viral disease, called it the "the most irresponsible institution" and even said its officials may be booked under murder charges.