Cal HC calls for strict enforcement of EC ban on rallies on May 2

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Kolkata, Apr 27 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed all authorities to strictly enforce the ban imposed by the Election Commission on rallies and gatherings on May 2, the day of counting of votes and declaration of results of assembly elections in West Bengal and four other states.

The EC counsel apprised the court that it has banned all public meetings and victory processions throughout India on the said date in the wake of soaring COVID-19 cases.

A restriction of a maximum of two persons has been placed on the winning party for collecting the certificate, the commission told a division bench comprising Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee, which is hearing a set of PILs on observance of coronavirus guidelines during the election process.

'The restriction imposed by the Election Commission of India as indicated above, shall be strictly enforced by all authorities concerned and it is so directed by this court,' the bench ordered.

Counsel for one of the petitioners also submitted that there is an acute shortage of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and other medicines, and the state should file a report on the steps it is taking to alleviate such a situation.

Advocate General Kishore Dutta, appearing for the state, said daily health bulletins are published on West Bengal Health Department's website and the same is in public domain.

Dutta said the petitioner is at liberty to access the website and find out what measures the state is taking.

The bench said it expects the petitioner to access the data and report about any grievance that he may have regarding the health bulletin on affidavit, before the court can consider passing any further order.

The next date for hearing has been fixed for May 3.

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