New Delhi, Jun 30 (PTI) Congress party members did not follow the COVID-19 social distancing norms and guidelines during nationwide protests against hike in petrol and diesel prices, a plea alleged in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The Congress party launched countrywide agitation on Monday against the government hiking prices of petroleum products several times in recent days and demanded an immediate rollback.
The cumulative 22-times increase since the oil companies started the cycle on June 7 totalled to Rs 9.17 for petrol and Rs 11.14 in diesel as on June 29.
The petition filed in the apex court has sought imposition of 'heavy penalty' on the Congress Party and Indian Youth Congress for allegedly 'not functioning in favour of the citizens of country and putting their life in danger by conducting such type of protest during the COVID-19 situation'.
The plea, filed by Jammu-based lawyer Supriya Pandita, has alleged that members of Congress and Indian Youth Congress have done large number of gatherings all over India during the June 29 protests which might trigger the chances of coronavirus spread.
'At present coronavirus is spreading very quickly in Delhi and Maharashtra and these two states have recorded maximum number of coronavirus patients, but despite that protest has taken place in various places of these two states,' said the petition, filed through advocates Om Prakash Parihar and Dushyant Tiwari.
The plea has also sought a direction to the police authorities to file cases against those who have violated social distancing norms and other guidelines which are imposed due to the COVID-19.
It has claimed that besides not following social distancing norms, the members of Congress and its youth wing had allegedly also failed to follow guidelines of the Centre and the Ministry of Home Affairs which were issued while removing the coronavirus induced lockdown.
'It is their responsibility too to protect the citizens of India by making them follow the social distancing norms and other restrictions imposed in India due to coronavirus but despite that they have gathered in large numbers and violated all the norms,' the plea has alleged.
It said that peaceful protest against the action or decision of the ruling party is not wrong but doing it during the pandemic time is 'illegal and there is a high chance of increase of coronavirus in all over India due to this irresponsible action'.
It said that instead of protests amid the pandemic, they should have submitted their representation to the ruling party on price hike of petrol and diesel.
It has also sought the apex court's direction to the probe agencies to investigate and find out why permission was given to conduct such protest despite knowing that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in India. PTI ABA MNL SJK SA