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Karnataka HC refuses to stay local body elections amidst the pandemic

The Karnataka High Court dismissed two applications filed by the State Convener of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which sought for a stay on municipality elections which are supposed to be held on April 27.

Through the intervention applications, the intervener claimed that the second wave of COVID-19 has caused serious public health crisis. He submitted that at present, the state of Karnataka has almost 1.5 lakh active cases and the districts where the elections are scheduled to be held, are not in a state to handle the further rise in cases which might occur due to the elections.

The counsel on behalf of State Election Commission submitted that the calendar of events had been issued in the month of March, 2021 and at present, only polling is left.

The bench, upon hearing the submissions of both the parties, noted that the intervener claimed for a drastic relief i.e. stay on municipality elections. The bench emphasized that after March 2020 also, many states conducted legislative assembly elections, including the state of Karnataka.

The bench also mentioned that under what law the intervener could claim such a drastic relief.

The bench added that it is the State Election Commission’s duty to take a decision in such extraordinary situations and follow COVID-related norms during polling. By citing these reasons, the bench did not grant the relief to the intervener.

The bench questioned the timing of intervener, as it came in the 11th hour asking for a stay on municipality elections. The bench also stated that they had conducted SSLC exams during the lockdown.

The bench thus dismissed the applications filed by the intervener.

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