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Madhya Pradesh: Physical Rallies Can Be Held For Now, Says Supreme Court
Physical election rallies in Madhya Pradesh can be held for now, Supreme Court puts on hold High Court order
Madhya Pradesh: Physical Rallies Can Be Held, For Now, Says Supreme Court
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today said that physical election rallies can be held, for now, putting on hold the Madhya Pradesh High Corut order to restrict physical political rallies in nine districts in the state in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ahead of the coming by-elections in 28 seats, the Gwalior Bench of the High Court last week asked that magistrates of the distrcit under its jurisdiction not give permission to any candidate or the political party for the public gatherings unless they can prove that a virtual election campaign is not possible.
The top court today said that it is the Election Commission that needs to look into their issue.
"You take initiative, set right the situation. If there is any illegality going on, it's for you to ask the authority to take action. We will say whatever illegality has been flagged by the high court, you will take cognizance of that. You must take responsibility," a bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar said.
Also, the top court pulled up political parties for what it said was creating a situation that compelled the high court to intervene." Had political parties maintained the protocol, this situation wouldn't have arisen," the top court said.
The Supreme Court was hearing the petitions of the Election Commission and Madhya Pradesh Energy Minister Pradyuman Singh Tomar.
The EC has approached the Supreme Court against the Madhya Pradesh High Court order, citing that the order interferes with the election process and that holding elections is its domain. Further, the election body had said the order would derail the poll process, it said.
Mr. Tomar who is contesting as the BJP candidate from the Gwalior constituency for the bypolls, said that the high court has erred in its finding as the election body has issued its coronavirus guidelines permitting "physical gatherings" for election campaigns subject to specified restrictions.
In Madhya Pradesh, twenty seats will be up for by-election next month.