Thursday, October 6, 2022

Assembly elections: Petition filed in Supreme Court to ban political rallies in view of rising Omicron cases

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A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court demanding a ban on rallies by political parties ahead of the upcoming Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur over fears of the spread of the new omicron variant.

The petition filed in view of the increasing threat of the new coronavirus variant Omicron sought issuance of specific directions, regulations for the adherence of Covid-19 protocols during the election campaign and other ongoing events to enforce the right to health and life of citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The petition, filed by Advocate Vishal Tiwari, has sought a direction to the Election Commission to direct the rallies be held through virtual and digital means by all political parties. Apart from this, the petition sought a direction to the Election Commission to strictly follow the Covid protocol for political rallies.

According to the petition, the cases of Omicron are increasing rapidly and rallies are also being held for the upcoming assembly elections to be held in five states in which the rules made to protect against corona are not being followed.

The five states are having scheduled upcoming state elections in February-March 2022. Large scale public campaigning, promotional activities and processions which are conducted by various political parties for the elections are at full swing which includes higher proportion of public involvement and crowds.

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According to the petition, the opinion of the members of the National Covid-19 Supermodel Committee has mentioned that the daily cases in India are expected to rise steeply as Omicron has replaced Delta as the dominant variant. The opinion of the committee has also raised questions on the action of the respondent authorities where in the committee has opined that the third wave is likely to arrive in India in early 2022 and as such needs to be controlled in the initial phase to reduce number of cases as much as possible.

The country has not yet recovered from the medical emergency caused by the second wave of Covid-19 in 2021, the health infrastructure was completely demolished and therefore the country is not prepared to tackle another disastrous wave of this virus and therefore such events and rallies need to be controlled, said the petition.

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