KOCHI: A petition has been filed before the Kerala High Court to declare as 'illegal' the swearing-in ceremony of the new LDF government led by Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday as 500 people are expected to attend the event, 'violating the Covid protocol issued by the government'.
A Division Bench led by Chief Justice S Manikumar will consider the case on Wednesday.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters on Monday that 500 people are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony at the Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram. The petition, by Dr K J Prince, general secretary of Thrissur-based Chikitsaneethi, an organisation for protecting the health of citizens, sought that the HC declare the conduct of the ceremony with the participation of a large number of people as illegal and in violation of the COVID protocol issued by the government.
The petition filed through advocate Arul Muralidharan and Vineetha Vijayan stated that the function is going to be conducted amid a situation where the disaster management authority had declared 'triple lockdown' in four districts in Kerala including Thiruvananthapuram.
"The condition in Kerala is very bad. One of the reasons for the spread of COVID-19 was the uncontrolled gatherings during the assembly election. Even though the State Election Commission had issued guidelines for conducting meetings of not more than 100 persons following the Covid protocol, political leaders including Pinarayi Vijayan had conducted public meetings in which thousands of people participated without complying with the conditions or guidelines issued by the Election Commission and Disaster Management Authority," the petition said.
According to the petitioner, the swearing-in ceremony is only a constitutional process of taking charge as MLA. "There is no legal duty to conduct the same with relatives and partymen. The person taking the oath and the person who is officially entrusted to give the oath are only needed to be present," the petition said. The petitioner also filed a plea before the government requesting it to conduct the oath-taking ceremony avoiding crowds strictly following the guidelines issued by the Kerala Disaster Management Authority.
The ceremony can also be viewed by live telecast without anyone participating except MLAs. The petitioner also sought legal action against those conducting the meeting and those participating in the meeting. Besides, there should be a directive to the state to conduct the ceremony only with the MLAs and the oath-giving person.