Notice to Election Commission seeking to debar poll campaigners for violation of COVID-19 protocol
Vikram Singh, former DGP, Uttar Pradesh, and presently the Chancellor of Noida International University and Chairman of Think Tank Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change has sent the notice.
NEW DELHI: A legal notice has been sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday seeking to debar election campaigners for violation of COVID-19 protocol during campaigning in Assembly elections of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry.
Vikram Singh, former Director-General of Police, Uttar Pradesh, and presently the Chancellor of Noida International University and Chairman of Think Tank Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC) has sent the notice to the ECI and urged it to take strict action against those who are not following its directions of mandatory masks.
Singh, in a notice filed through advocate Virag Gupta, mentioned if the Commission failed to take action, he would be compelled to approach the High Court seeking necessary directions. He stated that the Commission had directed that every person shall wear a face mask during every election-related activity.
"Further, the Election Commission vide its Advisory dated October 21, 2020, sought the cooperation of all political parties to follow instructions related to pandemic at all stages, especially wherever public interface in physical form is involved and held that observance of the preventive measures including wearing a mask, use of sanitiser, observance of social distancing is a duty cast upon all the stakeholders in the larger interest of public health," read the notice.
He further added that there are many instances wherein campaigners and their supporters are not wearing masks while campaigning for the elections. Photos and videos showing the same are replete across electronic and print media, and on many occasions, shared by the campaigners themselves, read the notice.
"There is an old adage saying as the king so are the subjects. It is submitted that when the VIPs (MLAs, MPs, Ministers and Chief Ministers) are not wearing the masks, expecting all of the general public to wear the same is an expectation too high, " Vikram Singh stated.
"When the nation is spending billions of rupees on the security of VIP leaders, they must follow the masking guidelines," he said.
The notice also mentioned that the Delhi High Court, on March 8, has taken suo moto cognizance of non-wearing of masks by several persons in the Air India flight from Kolkata to Delhi, has also issued notice to DGCA and Air India, and wing strict guidelines including to ensure that all passengers are complying with the protocol to be followed by them in flight, especially regarding wearing of masks.