The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a petition seeking to defer the Bihar Assembly elections due to the prevailing coronavirus crisis, reported Bar and Bench. The Assembly polls are scheduled to be held in November though the Election Commission is yet to announce the dates.
“Covid-19 cannot be a ground for stopping elections and interfering with the powers of the Election Commission,” said Justice Ashok Bhushan. “This court cannot tell the Chief Election Commissioner what to do. He [CEC] will consider everything.”
The top court called it a “premature petition” as it pointed out that there was no notification from the Election Commission regarding the Bihar election dates. “No notification has been issued,” said Justice MR Shah. “How can we ask the Election Commission to not hold elections?” The top court added that the poll body “will take all the necessary precautions and consider everything”.
Several political leaders have opposed to holding elections in the middle of a pandemic. In July, Opposition parties in Bihar had asked the Election Commission to ensure that the elections do not become a “coronavirus super-spreader” event.
Parties such as the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have also opposed the “virtual campaigning”. Nine parties, in a memorandum to the Election Commission, have questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party’s digital campaign, claiming that it disturbs the level-playing field.