The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought a response from the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea seeking directions to make it mandatory to wear masks at campaigns for the Assembly elections, PTI reported.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh was hearing a plea filed by former Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Vikram Singh. He is also the chairperson of a think tank, the Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change.
Singh had initially filed a plea in March, seeking directions to debar candidates from campaigning and fine them for violating coronavirus guidelines during the Assembly elections. The Delhi High Court had then issued a notice on the matter to the Election Commission and the Union home ministry.
On Wednesday, Singh’s lawyer Virag Gupta filed a separate plea, urging the court to hear the petition on an urgent basis as the registry had listed it on April 30, The New Indian Express reported. The court accepted his appeal and began the hearing on Thursday.
The plea stated that despite various orders and guidelines, the campaigning was going on in full swing, without any regard to the pandemic regulations.
“Reportedly, before the end of the first phase of campaigning in Assam and West Bengal, over 40 road shows and rallies had been organised by major political parties,” the plea pointed out, according to The Hindu. “At the same time, 59,117 fresh cases of Covid-19 were recorded in India on 25.03.2021, which is the highest in the last 159 days.”
Singh, in his plea, added that while fines were being collected from people, no action was being taken against politicians. “This indirect discrimination is in the teeth of Article 14 of the Constitution,” the plea said.
Following Thursday’s hearing, the court listed the application for further hearing on April 30 along with his earlier petition, PTI reported.