Kerala HC allows physical swearing-in of new govt with restrictions

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Kochi, May 19 (PTI) The Kerala High Court on Wednesday allowed the physical swearing-in ceremony of the new government at a stadium in Thiruvananthapuram tomorrow but directed that the number of people should be restricted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

'Though States like West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, with more number of Legislators in the Assembly have performed the swearing-in ceremony with lesser number, Government of Kerala, a forerunner in Covid-19 management, should restrict the number to the maximum to avoid the widespread COVID-19,' the court said.

The court gave the verdict in a plea filed by Dr K J Prince from a Thrissur-based NGO, 'Chikithsaneethi'.

The petitioner alleged that the swearing-ing was to be conducted physically with the participation of more than 500 people and sought the court's intervention.

The petitioner, a social activist, alleged that the function was going to be conducted in a situation where the disaster management authority had declared Triple Lockdown in four districts in Kerala including Thiruvananthapuram.

Imposing further restrictions on the function, the court said, 'Political parties shall take a decision as to whether all the MLAs are required to be present in the swearing-in ceremony.' 'The spouses and relatives of all the MLAs, except the designated ministers, are not required to participate in the swearing-in ceremony. The ceremony can be viewed from the residence of the respective MLAs,' it said.

The court said government officials required for the performance/participation in the ceremony alone shall be permitted.

It directed the state government to consider whether the presence of all the special invitees, including the members of the state committee of the political parties, are required to be present, in view of the utmost adverse situation prevailing due to the pandemic.

It said this direction applies to all the special invitees including persons who have contributed to the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF). PTI COR TGB BN BALA BN BALA