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He had asked the states, UT in March to ensure appropriate Covid behavior in all meetings: Center to HC | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Center has told the Delhi High Court that in March this year it called on all state governments and Union Territories (UT) to ensure that appropriate Covid-19 behavior is observed at all meetings.
The Home Office (MHA) presentation came in response to a request seeking to exclude activists and candidates from campaigning in assembly elections for repeatedly violating mandatory guidelines, including wearing masks, issued by the Commission. Electoral (CE). and the Center in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The petition of Vikram Singh, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh and also chair of the think tank Center for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC), maintains that, despite the orders and directives of the Center and the EC, “the electoral campaign continues in full performance, regardless of Covid-19 regulations. ”
In the affidavit filed through the central government’s permanent attorney, Anurag Ahluwalia, the MHA has said that it has always made provisions in the guidelines issued to states and UT under the Disaster Management Act of 2005 to enforce appropriate behavior. of Covid-19 and strict compliance with the standard operating procedures (POE).
The ministry has also said that it issued the ‘Guidelines for the effective control of Covid-19’ on March 23, emphasizing that states and UTs “must strictly enforce the test-follow-up-treatment protocol, the appropriate behavior of Covid- 19 and the prescribed SOPs in various activities, such as opening schools, hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, gyms, etc. ”
“In addition, states and UT, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions at the district / sub-district and city / district levels,” the ministry said.
Singh, represented by lawyer Virag Gupta, had told the court that when announcing the elections, the EC in its notification ordered that “everyone must wear a face mask during all activities related to the elections”, but the elections were “circumvented. with impunity “by political parties, their leaders and activists during rallies, public meetings, and traveling presentations made during the ongoing pandemic.
Subsequently, he moved two more requests, through lawyer Gaurav Pathak, seeking instructions to the EC to take measures such as imposing sanctions and presenting FIRs against “star activists” and leaders of all political parties for allegedly violating Covid-19 regulations during the assembly elections. in West Bengal and for ensuring that all those involved in election campaigns are required to wear masks during ongoing elections in various states and union territories.
Singh, in one of her requests, also requested instructions from the EC to widely publicize the guidelines issued by her and the ministry.
The “unhindered and careless campaign” has resulted in an increase in coronavirus cases in that state where the positivity rate has risen from 5% to 24%, Singh said in one of his requests.
In addition, he has argued that “ECI’s indifferent action in implementing its own guidelines and the non-cancellation of the permission granted for tours and rallies is evident by the number of activists who capture Covid.”
“The Electoral Commission had guidelines for the conduct of general elections / by-elections during Covid-19 published in August 2020, but did not implement them,” Singh said and requested the prosecution of ECI officials “who did not enforce your own mandatory Covid guidelines. ”
Assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry were held in several phases. The polls began on March 27 and ended on April 29.
Singh has claimed that there is “indirect discrimination” against the general public, as they are charged fines for violating Covid-19 regulations, but no action is taken against politicians.

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