Telangana SEC Faces Wrath For Municipal Polls Amid COVID

 - Sakshi Post

According to Telangana High Court, holding elections in these tense Covid-19 times is tantamount to walking into the jaws of death.

Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijay Sen Reddy of the Supreme Court of India asked the SEC if the sky would collapse if the elections were postponed.

HYDERABAD: Holding elections in these tense Covid-19 times is equivalent to walking into the jaws of death, according to the Telangana High Court. It chastised the State Election Commission (SEC) for continuing with the election process in the Greater Warangal and Khammam municipal corporations, as well as five other municipalities.

Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijay Sen Reddy of the Supreme Court of India asked the SEC if the sky would collapse if the elections were postponed.

“If you are so bent upon clinging to your tasks, wasn't there any delay in conducting elections on time? Wasn’t there any situation when a local body was administered by the special officer for the interim? We all witnessed that the state capital’s Mayor post was not filled for more than a year and a half without conducting GHMC elections even when there was no Corona or a calamity. But, at the time of the serious surge in Covid-19 cases in the state, you rushed to conduct elections as if the sky will otherwise fall down. This was not a calibrated decision, whatever the reasons be,” SEC Secretary Ashok Kumar was informed by the bench.

At the court's request, he appeared before the court to clarify why the elections were held in Covid times.

Given the significant increase in Covid-19 cases in the state, the court asked the SEC why it didn't use the power vested in it under the law to halt or delay the elections.

Chief Justice Kohli said that the SEC has endangered not only the lives of people but also the lives of 7,695 government employees and 2,557 police officers.

The current situation, according to the Chief Justice, reminded the court of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem Charge of the Light Brigade, in which the British Cavalry Unit, the Light Brigade, consisting of 600 men, was ordered to charge against the enemy although such an act was suicidal and a blunder. It took them into death's clutches.

“Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them, Volleyed and thundered; Stormed at with shot and shell, boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of hell,” Chief Justice Kohli recited the poem in this manner.

Chief Justice Kohli cited the high number of Covid19 Positive cases in these areas and questioned Ashok Kumar on whether the SEC was aware of the Coronavirus cases in these areas when he told the division bench that these elections are only confined and restricted to two municipal corporations and five other municipalities.

“The entire world, not only the country or the state, knows of the war-like conditions going on since February 2021. Does the SEC not belong to this planet? Are you living on Mars? You gave the Notification on April 16. Some of the municipalities’ terms have not been completed by March and mid-April. You have four months' time to conduct elections. Is there such an urgency or statutory compulsion to hold a meeting of newly elected municipal councilors’, as of a meeting of the Council of Ministers,” the Chief Justice questioned the State Election Commission's counsel.

The State Election Commission's decision to hold municipal elections on April 30th when the entire state is infected with Covid-19 is a deliberate and ironic decision, according to the Bench.

“It has really botched up the entire situation in the state. Warangal, Achampet, Rangareddy, Mahbubnagar, Nagarkurnool have seen the highest spurt in Covid-19 cases. This is nothing but jeopardizing the life of the citizens,” the court ordered the SEC to file a report by May 5th.

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