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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Politicians should not hold functions with crowds until restrictions ease: Bombay High Court

The HC said that it was “compelled” to direct politicians and ministers not to conduct physical ceremonies and functions, including inaugurating projects, until lockdown restrictions are eased by the state government.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: May 13, 2021 11:26:03 am
Bombay High Court, Maharashtra, hospital fire, Covid-19 treatment in Maharashtra, Mumbai news, indian expressThe Bombay High Court. (File)

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday expressed displeasure over Shiv Sena leader and Cabinet Minister Sandipan Bhumre reportedly participating in functions for the inauguration of developmental works in his constituency of Paithan in the presence of a large gathering.

The HC said that it was “compelled” to direct politicians and ministers not to conduct physical ceremonies and functions, including inaugurating projects, until lockdown restrictions are eased by the state government.

A division bench of Justice Ravindra V Ghuge and Justice Bhalchandra U Debadwar passed the directions while hearing a suo motu PIL based on news reports, seeking to address issues of funeral rites of Covid-19 patients, shortage of medical oxygen supply and black marketing of Remdesivir drug among others.

The court referred to a news report that stated that Bhumre had inaugurated development works in his constituency in the presence of a large gathering. “While news reports said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has appealed to politicians not to organise such events, still it is happening… even the leader/minister is a super spreader… There seems to be no action. What is this politicians-police nexus?” it said.

“We find that the world is unable to control Covid, only by increasing beds, oxygen, ventilators, ICU wards and medicines. Such are necessary steps and methods to cure patients. The long lasting, inexpensive and quick solution is physical distancing, wearing of masks and maintaining high level of hygiene. In such testing and unprecedented times, it is the behaviour of the people which would decide the growth of the pandemic,” the bench noted in the order.

“Would heavens fall if such programs are postponed in the light of the “break the chain’ order? And if the politicians are refusing to support the lock-down restrictions, the only solution would, therefore, be that, such functions should not be held in any form (including religious, social, cultural or political functions of any kind), until the lock-down restriction are eased by the Government of Maharashtra. Even agitations and Morchas are prohibited. We order accordingly,” HC held.

“…Are lockdown restrictions and orders passed by the court in the interest of public health meant only for the poor and politicians are above law? We all need to discipline ourselves and should obey law and lockdown restrictions. None of these orders or restrictions are being followed by these politicians,” the court said. The HC will hear the PIL next on Thursday.

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