Kerala HC disposes of pleas seeking lockdown during counting of votes on May 2

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Kochi, Apr 27 (PTI) The Kerala High Court on Tuesday disposed of pleas seeking a direction to declare lockdown in the state on May 2, the date of counting of votes in the state Assembly elections, accepting the assurances from the State government and Election Commission that only counting related activities will be allowed on that day.

When the court took up the matter, the election commission submitted that in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, the Commission has decided to make more stringent provisions to be followed during the process of counting.

The poll panel said it has banned all victory processions after counting of votes in states where assembly polls were held to check the spread of coronavirus.

No victory procession after the counting on May 2 shall be permissible and not more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his/her authorized representative to receive the certificate of election from the Returning Officer concerned, the commission said.

The state government informed that in view of the spread of coronavirus, all social, political, cultural and religious events have been prohibited along with the closure of cinemas, malls, gyms, bars, clubs and sports complexes from April 27 until further orders.

Accepting the assurances given by the state government and the election commission, the court closed the petitions.

In their pleas, the petitioners alleged that norms of social distancing, wearing of masks etc were found to have been flouted by political parties during the election campaign.

The petitioners sought a direction from the court to declare lockdown, banning social gatherings, processions, rallies and celebrations on the day of counting of votes. PTI COR TGB BN BALA BALA