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Ensure that counting day does not turn into super-spreader day- Madras HC

The Madras High Court directed the Election Commission of India, State government and the political parties to ensure that the counting day i.e. May 2 does become super-spreader day amidst second wave of pandemic.

The bench issued the above direction while examining the steps which the Election Commission of India would be undertaking in order to abide by COVID appropriate behaviour on the counting day.

The Tamil Nadu Advocate General elaborated upon the various directions which had been issued upon a discussion between Health Secretary and Chief Electoral Officer in view of COVID-19 protocols.

The Advocate General stated that the directions include sanitisation of EVMs, thermal screening, negative COVID reports, compulsory masks and crowd control.

The counsel appearing for Election Commission of India submitted that it has banned all victory rallies and road marches on the counting day.

The bench comprising of Chief Justice of Tamil Nadu High Court stated that such directions of ECI need to be implemented without any further instructions through letters and words.

The bench highlighted that ECI and State Government should take necessary steps as political parties would not care about COVID protocols and general public.

The bench further inquired upon the protocols for media persons. The bench stated that there could not be numerous reporters, technicians, cameramen, and vans near a small room where counting would take place.

 The bench observed that it is important for media persons to be present as it would ensure access of information to the general public, but their presence in huge numbers should be checked as it would amount to malpractice.

The Advocate General informed that protocols have been formulated for the media persons as well. They’re required to carry their negative RT-PCR reports or a certificate of two doses of vaccination in order to enter the counting booths.

The bench through this suo moto case tried to monitor the measures which authorities had to undertake.

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