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Halt rallies, protests defying Covid protocol, Bombay HC tells state

The court referred to a recent protest held over the naming of the upcoming Navi Mumbai international airport after late socialist leader D B Patil and several rallies organised seeking reservations for the Maratha community among others.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
July 1, 2021 4:07:44 am
The Bombay High Court (file)

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Maharashtra government to “activate its machinery to stop political rallies and protests defying Covid-19 protocols” while stating that it would not allow this to continue.

The court referred to a recent protest held over the naming of the upcoming Navi Mumbai international airport after late socialist leader D B Patil and several rallies organised seeking reservations for the Maratha community among others.

A division bench of Chief Justice (CJ) Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni was hearing public interest litigations alleging improper management of Covid-19 treatment in Maharashtra, seeking directions pertaining to shortage of drugs and monitoring of black marketing and profiteering that reportedly takes place during procurement and distribution of such drugs.

CJ Datta told Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, representing the state: “You (state) will have to start activating machinery to stop political rallies defying Covid-19 protocols. If you cannot handle it, let it be done by the court. We will not allow this to happen. We are shutting down courts for physical hearings and these political leaders are organising rallies with thousands of persons.”

“The last rally was (held) on the issue of naming an airport with nearly 25,000 people present. We thought there would be a maximum of 5,000 people. Can it not wait for Covid-19 to get over?”

Advocate Rajesh Inamdar, representing the petitioner, social worker Nilesh Navlakha, referred to reports on political rallies and protests in the state.

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