Nainital: The Uttarakhand High Court has asked the Election Commission (ECI) whether it is possible to conduct digital election rallies and online voting in the upcoming state assembly elections.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice of the High Court Sanjay Kumar Mishra and Justice NS Dhanik asked this question to the Election Commission while hearing a PIL on Wednesday.
In the petition, a request has been made to postpone the upcoming assembly elections in Uttarakhand in view of its increasing cases due to the new form of corona virus, Omicron.
The High Court sought to know from the Election Commission whether it was possible to conduct election rallies in a digital way. Along with this, the court also asked whether it would be possible to make available the online method of voting.
The PIL has claimed that election rallies are being held in Uttarakhand, though an application is pending before the court to find an alternative to these rallies or ban them if required.
The petition has sought postponement of the elections while the High Court has asked the Election Commission to think of alternative methods like digital rallies.
The petitioner’s counsel Shiv Bhatt drew the court’s attention to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s corona virus infection, a day after a rally was organized in Dehradun recently.
Bhatt said that rallies can be dangerous for people not only because they attract a large number of people, but also because the new form of corona virus, the Omicron virus, can spread much faster than the earlier forms.
The court has directed the Election Commission to file its reply on the PIL before January 12, the next date of hearing.
According to the Indian Express, the court said, “Let the Election Commission of India consider a stay on large public rallies for the upcoming election to the Uttarakhand State Legislative Assembly and issue appropriate directions for taking a decision.” The Election Commission will also consider issuing appropriate instructions for campaigning in virtual mode. We also request the Election Commission of India to consider virtual voting in future.
Shiv Bhatt told The Indian Express that the petition sought to stop the election rallies as they could turn into a super-spreader event.
Bhatt said, “We had requested the court to postpone the election/or stop the election rallies. On this, the court asked the Election Commission to consider a ban on election rallies. The court also suggested that when everything, including the functioning of the court, can be done online, why can’t we consider online elections.’
The petitioner, in his application, said that in view of the situation of COVID-19 in the state and the large number of vacancies in the medical field, it is necessary that either the assembly elections be postponed or the political parties should be allowed to hold election rallies/meetings through digital medium. be instructed.
It has been said in the petition that elections in the state are expected to be held in February-March, for which all political parties are holding election rallies in large numbers.
The petition said, ‘It is necessary to state here that neither social distancing is followed in election rallies nor people are seen wearing masks.’
It is to be known that in view of the continuous increase in the cases of corona virus infection in the country, the Congress has canceled the large public meetings and programs in five election states including Uttar Pradesh.
It is worth noting that the assembly elections are going to be held soon in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
(with input from news agency language)
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