- The Election Commission said it is aggrieved with media reports of the oral observations of Madras High Court
- Madras HC said EC is “singularly responsible for the situation prevalent today” and that it should face murder charges
- “Nothing to suggest” that campaigning was a factor in the spike in COVID-19 cases said the EC.
On Friday, the Election Commission of India requested the Madras High Court to restrain the media from reporting on oral observations, days after the court’s sharp remarks on “murder charges” on officials of the election body for not stopping political rallies.
The ECI also argued that there is “nothing to suggest” that campaigning was a significant factor in driving any spike in the COVID-19 cases in states which voted versus the ones that did not.
In the petition, the Election Commission said that it was aggrieved with the reports from the media citing the oral observations of Madras High Court which said ECI is “singularly responsible for the situation prevalent today” and that it should face murder charges.
The Indian poll body said, “These reports have tarnished the image of the Election Commission of India as an independent constitutional agency that is entrusted with the constitutional responsibility of conducting elections”.
The ECI also said that a police complaint had been filed against the Deputy Election Commissioner accusing him of murder in West Bengal after the media reported on the observations.
On Monday, during the argument the Madras High Court had said, “Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19.
“Your officers should be booked on murder charges probably…Were you on another planet when the election rallies were held?”
The stinging rebuke was not part of the court’s order later that day, which said “At no cost can counting become a catalyst for a further surge.”
On Friday, the Election Commission argued “No one must be permitted to report on the proceedings of this court that are not borne out by the record, especially when the detailed order is made available.
“There was no occasion for this court to make such observations since the campaigning in Tamil Nadu ended back in April 4.”
It was also mentioned that both Calcutta and Kerala High Courts have “expressed satisfaction” with the COVID-related measures implemented by the Election Commission of India for counting on Sunday.
The number of Covid cases was relatively low when elections were announced in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal on the 26th of February, the Election Commission said.
The comparison of data among the states which had voted and those did not vote during the campaign period of 20th March and 4th April “does not indicate that the election campaigns were a significant factor, much less than what the court termed as a singular factor”, the Election Commission of India told the Madras High Court.
Additionally, the ECI said that no elections were held in states which are showing the highest number of cases, including Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh.
The petition from ECI said, “It, therefore, cannot be said that the Election Commission is ‘singularly responsible for the second wave of Covid-19’ nor the officers of the Election Commission can be said to be any manner culpable for ‘murder’”.