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EC officials should be booked for murder: Poll Panel moves Supreme Court against Madras High Court observation

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New Delhi: The Election Commission on Saturday (May 1) moved Supreme Court against Madras High Court observations that the poll panel was singularly responsible for surge in coronavirus COVID-19 cases across the country. The poll panel has challeneged the Madras High Court observation where it blasted it for its failure to maintain COVID-19 protocols. 

The poll panel’s appeal against the Madras High Court’s refusal to entertain its petition opposing the critical remarks will be heard by a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud on March 3. We have filed an appeal against the high court orders,” the counsel for the Election Commission, Amit Sharma, told PTI.

The Madras High Court had on April 26 castigated the ECI over the COVID-19 second wave in the country, holding it singularly responsible for the spread, called it “the most irresponsible institution” and even said its officials may be booked under murder charges. The ECI allowing political parties to take out rallies and meetings had led to the spread of the pandemic, the court had said.

The development comes a day after the Supreme Court on April 30 advised High Courts to avoid unnecessary ‘off-the-cuff remarks’ during hearings, a call that came against the backdrop of stinging observations made by some of them against the Centre and state governments over their handling of the escalating COVID-19 crisis. 

In Chennai, the ECI’s counsel told the High Court that comments of murder charges against its officials and the institution being solely responsible for the surge in COVID-19 cases had caused great damage and tarnished the poll body’s image.

The call by the apex court that it expects a “degree of respect and restraint” since the remarks may have serious ramifications also came on a day when the Election Commission of India (ECI) moved the Madras High Court seeking to restrain the media from reporting its strong oral observations on the poll body’s role in conducting elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The ECI’s plea was, however, rejected by the high court. 

(With PTI inputs)

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