Calcutta High Court on Thursday came down heavily on EC for their failure in implementing Covid guidelines

News Desk: As Covid-19 cases surge in West Bengal, the division bench of Calcutta High Court on Thursday came down heavily on polling officials for not taking proper action to ensure Covid guidelines were followed during voting and campaigning by political parties in the state assembly election.

This order came on the day of the sixth phase of polling in the election which took place across 43 constituencies.

Inaction by the EC

Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan observed that the Election Commission of India has full power to implement Covid norms but failed to do so. He said such inaction by the commission cannot be permitted and that action beyond issuing circulars needs to be taken by it.

The high court’s order read, “We are not satisfied by the materials on record to state that the Election Commission of India and its officers on ground in West Bengal enforced their circulars. We are sure circulars are not merely advisories to be wrapped up by political parties or those involved in political propaganda or the public at large.”

Political rallies and polling 

Shamik Bagchi, advocate for the writ petitioner, stated, “The court has said that the Election Commission can take the help of the Rapid Action Force to control big political rallies during the pandemic.”

Radhakrishnan stated that the Election Commission has behaved like a ‘mere spectator’ during this health crisis. He asked why a quick response team had not been called to control the situation and maintain Covid protocol during the polling process.

The court also observed that political parties had not been appearing in the case, even though they have been made a party in it.

The matter will be heard again virtually on Friday. The court has asked the Election Commission to submit a short affidavit on these observations made by it.