Repeated attempts by the Additional Solicitor General and Senior Counsel Rakesh Dwivedi appearing for ECI to reconsider the earlier remarks about the former’s unpreparedness and the latter’s failure to implement its statutory function during the pandemic, failed to evoke any directions in this regard. Instead, the first bench comprising the Chief Justice and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said, “Two aspects cannot be missed. The Union’s endeavour that the surge in numbers may have been unexpected and preparatory measures may have been taken for quite some time and the second aspect is the Election Commission’s concern of sensationalism. The post-mortem on the entire count has to wait, particularly in terms of the measures that need to be in place.”
He further clarified that this court does not regard itself as an expert and to suggest measures for adoption. “The objective of the exercise is to push the authorities tasked with such obligation to devote their attention in such regard so that the measures taken to counter the surge of the virus may be monitored to some degree, ” the Chief Justice held. Earlier, the counsel appearing for the ECI pointed out that the court’s observation of pressing murder charges against ECI for reportedly contributing to the second wave of the COVID spread has led to FIRs being filed against it. Based on this, he sought the court to restrain the media from reporting oral comments by judges and that it is a very difficult job to conduct elections during such difficult times. “Being held solely responsible for surge in Covid cases have caused great damage,” the senior counsel said.
However, the Chief Justice on refusing to acknowledge such submissions pointed out that such ‘frivolous’ FIRs against the ECI will be dealt with accordingly by the courts concerned. The bench also refused to take up immediately a plea moved by the ECI seeking to direct the press and media to confine their reports to observations recorded in orders or judgments and not report oral observations made during court proceedings.