Madras HC | Wear masks; maintain social distancing norms at all political gatherings: HC to candidates and political parties in election-bound State of Tamil Nadu

Madras High Court: A Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ. and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, J., requested all political parties and candidates, who hold meetings and go campaigning all over the State, to ensure that at every gathering masks are worn by all and that social distancing norms are maintained without exception.

The Court was hearing a petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for issue of Writ of Mandamus directing the State of Tamil Nadu and the State Chief Election Commissioner to prevent the election campaign in 234 constituencies in the State Assembly Election to be held next month. The petitioner had forwarded a representation on 2-3-2021 to such effect but the authorities did not respond to the petitioner or take any action in terms thereof.

The Court noted that: “It is no doubt a matter of concern that the Covid cases have been rising in the recent days and a second wave appears to be upon us.

However, as per the Court, since the assembly elections have been notified and the process is about to be completed by voting next month, it cannot be interfered with at this stage.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the instant petition by requesting all political parties and candidates, who hold meetings and go campaigning all over the State, to ensure that at every gathering masks are worn by all and that social distancing norms are maintained without exception. The Court further said that it may do well for the Election Commission to send a message in such regard to all candidates and in respect of all gatherings at campaign meetings and the like. [A. Jalaudeen v. State, WP (MD) No. 5766 of 2021, decided on 22-3-2021]

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