Lashing out against the Election Commission, the Madras High Court on Monday termed it "the most irresponsible institution in the country" and should probably face murder charges for not preventing parties from breaching Covid-19 protocols during campaigning during the Assembly elections.
It also warned of stopping the counting process on May 2 unless proper plans were drawn up for the process.
A bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, while hearing a plea moved by Tamil Nadu Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabhaskhar, said: "You (EC) are the only institution responsible for the situation of Covid and should probably be put on murder charges for not preventing political parties from misuse of Covid 19 protocol. You have been singularly lacking any kind of exercise of authority. You have not taken measures against political parties holding rallies despite the court saying 'Maintain Covid protocols, maintain Covid protocols'."
The minister had petitioned the court seeking direction to the Election Commission to follow a slew of measures in ensuring fairness during the counting of votes on May 2 for Karur constituency where he had contested the elections as an AIADMK candidate. There were 77 candidates in fray at Karur constituency.
"We assure you that we will stop counting if we do not find before May 2 a blueprint on how proper maintenance of Covid protocol is assured so that this state does not succumb to the idiosyncrasies any further," the bench said.
The Chief Justice also observed that public health is of paramount importance and that it was distressing to remind constitutional authorities on the counting and possibilities of a further surge after May 2.