Madras High Court calls EC officials ‘murderers’ for virus protocol abuse

Madras High Court calls EC officials ‘murderers’ for virus protocol abuse

"The situation now is of survival and protection. Everything else comes next,” the Chief Justice said.

The Madras High Court exploded in anger on Monday as it called the Election Commission of India (ECI) "murderers” for not stopping political parties from wanton abuse of the COVID-19 protocol.

"The Election Commission of India should be put up on murder charges probably for being the most irresponsible institution over the last few months,” a visibly upset Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee said.

"Were you on another planet when political rallies were being held?"

He told the Election Commission’s counsel: "Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19. Your officers should be booked on murder charges probably. You have been singularly lacking any kind of exercise of authority.

Madras High Court calls EC officials ‘murderers’ for virus protocol abuse
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"You have not taken measures against political parties holding rallies despite every order of this court saying ‘maintain COVID-19 protocol, maintain COVID-19 protocol.’ And the judges warned: "Now we assure you we will stop counting if we do not find before May 2 a blueprint on how proper maintenance of COVID-19 protocol will be maintained so that this state does not succumb to your idiosyncrasies any further.

"At no cost, the counting of votes on May 2 result in being a catalyst to a further surge, politics or no politics and whether the counting takes place in a staggered manner or deferred. Public health is of paramount importance and it is distressing that constitutional authorities have to be reminded in such regard.

"The situation now is of survival and protection. Everything else comes next,” the Chief Justice said.

The court’s fury came as it was hearing a plea moved Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar seeking direction to the ECI to follow a slew of measures aimed at ensuring fairness in the counting of votes on May 2.

Tamil Nadu's single-day COVID-19 cases hit 15,653 on Sunday, pushing the total case count to 108,100 till date. As many as 82 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 13,557 so far, the health department said.

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