January 6, 2022 4:21:33 am
AMID RISING Covid-19 cases in the state, Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday asked the Election Commission of India to consider virtual rallies and online voting for the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.
Hearing a petition filed by Haridwar resident Sachidanand Dabral through Advocate Shiv Bhatt, a division bench of Additional Chief Justice S K Mishra and Justice Alok Kumar Verma asked the poll panel to take a decision and inform the court in the next hearing on January 12.
“Let the Election Commission of India consider issuing appropriate directions prohibiting large public rallies for the ensuing election for the Uttarakhand State Legislative Assembly and to take a decision. The Election Commission shall also consider issuing appropriate directions for campaigning in virtual mode. We also request the Election Commission of India to consider… virtual voting in future,” the court said.
Advocate Shiv Bhatt told The Indian Express that the petition had sought stopping of election rallies as they might turn into super-spreader events.
“We requested the court to postpone the election and/or stop election rallies. On this, the court asked the ECI to consider prohibiting election rallies. The court also suggested that when all things, including court functioning, can take place online, why can’t we consider online elections,” said Bhatt.
In his application, the petitioner said that given the Covid situation in the state and large-scale vacancies in the medical sector “it is imperative that either the Assembly elections be postponed or the political parties be directed to do the election rallies/meeting through web/online.”
The petition said election in the state is expected in February-March for which all political parties are holding “enormous” election rallies. “It is pertinent to state here that in the election rallies … neither social distancing was followed nor people have worn masks,” the petition said.
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