Jabalpur, Apr 27 (PTI) The Madhya Pradesh High Court has said that coronavirus guidelines should be strictly followed during counting of votes for the Damoh Assembly byelection, and no victory processions be allowed.
The court's direction came on a PIL seeking `action' against the Election Commission of India for holding elections in MP and elsewhere during the pandemic.
The Damoh bypoll took place on April 17 while counting of votes is scheduled for May 2.
'The respondents including Collector, Damoh to ensure that the guidelines of the Central Government as well as the State Government with regard to Coronavirus for maintaining social distancing, use of masks and sanitizers shall be strictly adhered to by all those who take part in the process of counting,' the order passed on Monday said.
'No crowd, at or near the counting centre, shall be allowed to assemble. No political party or candidate, shall be allowed to carry out any victory procession,' said a division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul Sreedharan.
The court, however, refused to consider the issue of violation of rules during the elections held in other states.
'We do not want to entertain the present dispute in respect of the elections which had taken place in the other States on the specious plea that mere travel of political leaders, party activists or passengers by trains, by air or even by road, to and from those states would confer territorial jurisdiction of the dispute upon this Court,' it said.
The court disposed of the petition filed by advocates P C Paliwal and Umesh Trivedi.
The public interest litigation sought action against both the ECI and the State Election Commission for conducting elections in MP and elsewhere during which COVID-19 protocol was violated by political parties.
Trivedi told reporters that they will move the Supreme Court over the issue. PTI COR ADU KRK KRK