On Tuesday, Karnataka High Court questioned the state political parties (BJP, Congress), “Are political parties have issuing instructions to their members/followers to abide by rules regarding wearing of masks and social distancing at political parties and gatherings,” seeking the response of the same.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Court in its order specifically observed that prima facie, it was the responsibility of all political parties to ensure that their members must follow all the preventive guidelines on wearing masks & social distancing.
A petition was filed alleging that the National Directives for Covid-19 Management, (Union Minsitry of Home Affairs (MHA) guidelines), were not being followed.
While hearing, a division bench of Chief justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Vishwajit Shetty has issued notice to all the Political parties of the state. And the court directed that the time has come for political parties to issue strict directions to its members.
Government pleader Vikram Huilgol submitted that fines were collected from 25 people. Taking a dim view of the State’s conduct, the court commented,
“On all these rallies, you have not placed anything on record….how many people participated? Looking at the photo, the gathering is not confined to 25 people. You have not conducted inquiry…”
Further, the Bench has declared official ‘Bandh’ on December 5 in order to protest against State Government’s decision to constitute Maratha Development Authority. However, the court has noted that there is a possibility of violation of social distancing rules during the protests.
Lastly, the Bench opined that the State ought to have shown it’s bona fide by collecting fines from all participants of political rallies, who had flouted social distancing rules.
The matter will be heard next on December 4.