COVID-19 not a ground to postpone elections : Supreme Court
A bench comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy, and MR Shah, dismissed two pleas seeking for a direction of the Chief Election Commissioner for the postponement of the impending Bihar Assembly Elections on account of the COVID 19 pandemic and also because of the flood situation faced by the State.
The Assembly Elections in Bihar are due to be held in October- November 2020 and the tenure of the current assembly will end in November 2020.
The petitioner insisted on the Peoples Representation Act, 1951, saying that elections can be deferred in the backdrop of extraordinary situations, the human life is paramount to elections, as people are suffering because of the infection and floods.
Justice Ashok Bhushan stated that,
The plea was “misconceived” and could not be allowed under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution as the election was yet to be declared, and therefore, the Petitioners could not cite the pandemic as the reason to seek for the postponement of the elections.
The bench said that it is for the Election Commission to decide and not for the top court and therefore it cannot direct the Election Commission not to hold elections.
Many pleas are filed with regard to the postponement of elections, one of the pleas is filed by lawyer-social worker Rajesh Jaiswal that the court should direct the Chief Election Commissioner to not recommend to the Government of Bihar to publish the notification of election to its State Legislative Assembly in the Official Gazette, until the State is COVID and flood free.
The bench replied,
How can we ask the Election Commission not to hold elections?
It further stated that the Election Commission will take care of the situation and no writ can be applied like this and the Apex Court dismissed the petition.
(By Andrea Dsilva)