New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition seeking directions to refrain from holding the upcoming elections in Bihar till the state is declared COVID-19 and flood-free.
The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah said that Covid19 cannot be a ground for postponement of elections, especially when the notification declaring the election has not even been issued.
The bench further said that the Election Commission will take all precautionary steps to ensure the safety of the citizens.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by a resident of Bihar, Rajesh Kumar Jaiswal who had submitted that
“by deciding to hold elections during the pandemic, the Election Commission of India has ignored the population of states like Bihar whereby the population is above 9.9 crores and it can’t adopt targeted measures for older voters who are more vulnerable to COVID-19. Options like proxy voters under a well established legal framework, postal voting, and mobile ballot boxes cannot be explored and implemented in such a short span of time.”
The Chief Election Commissioner on August 11, had announced that the Bihar election will be held as per schedule despite the fact that Bihar is grappling under the COVID-19 and floods.
The petitioner argued that Bihar already has more than 1 lakh COVID cases and holding elections in such situation would only aggravate the virus further.
The petitioner had thus prayed that instead of focusing on elections the state government be directed to ensure proper housing facilities to the residents amid the recent floods.
The petitioner had also made a representation to the Election Commission on July 18 to postpone the elections, but the Commission did not respond and the petitioner, having no other remedy, approached the Supreme Court.
– India Legal Bureau