Madhya Pradesh to move SC against HC order restricting physical political rallies in state, says CM

The Gwalior bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday had ordered nine districts under its jurisdiction to grant permission for public rallies only if virtual meetings were not possible

FP Staff October 22, 2020 16:28:26 IST
Madhya Pradesh to move SC against HC order restricting physical political rallies in state, says CM

File image of Shivraj Singh Chouhan. PTI

The Madhya Pradesh government on Thursday said it will move Supreme Court against the high court’s order restricting physical political rallies in nine districts in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a video message, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan apologised to the people of Ashok Nagar's Shadora and Bhander, where he was expected to hold two political rallies. The rallies had to be cancelled following the order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

"We respect the High Court and its decision. But regarding this decision, we will go to the Supreme Court, because it is like having two laws in a single land," Chouhan told news agency ANI.

“Political rallies are being held in Bihar every day,” Chouhan said. “There cannot be such contradicting legislation in the country.”

The Gwalior Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday had ordered that district magistrates disallow any candidate or party for public gatherings without compelling reasons as bypolls are due for 28 seats in the state.

“The right of candidates to the campaign has to yield to the right to health and life of the electorate,” the court order said, according to the Hindustan Times.

Bypolls to 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh are scheduled to be held on 3 November.

The court, on Wednesday, issued interim directions to the district magistrates of all nine districts falling within the court's territorial jurisdiction, restraining them from giving permission to any candidate/political party for holding physical congregations of any number of people unless the political party applying for it satisfies the DM concerned holding a virtual election campaign was not possible.

"The decision of the district magistrate permitting any political party to conduct physical congregation shall become effective only after the Election Commission of India (ECI) approves the same in writing," the court order said.

"Holding of physical congregation even if permitted by the district magistrate and the ECI can take place only after the political party/candidate intending to hold a congregation deposits money with the DM, which is sufficient to purchase double the number of masks and sanitizers required for protecting and sanitizing the number of persons expected in the congregation," the court order said.

"And also when a candidate files an undertaking on affidavit that he shall be personally liable to distribute masks and sanitizers to all the members of the congregation before the meeting/congregation starts," it added.

With inputs from PTI

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