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COVID-19 cannot be an excuse to defer poll: SC

New Delhi: The opposition parties in Bihar fail to get relief from the Supreme Court in the matter of deferring the state Assembly election as the top court refused to entertain a petition seeking postponement of the elections due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Observing that the COVID-19 cannot be an excuse to defer Assembly polls, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising Justices RS Reddy and MR Shah left it to the Election Commission to decide the schedule.

While hearing a petition filed by one Avinash Thakur, who sought a direction to the Chief Election Commissioner by citing Representation of People Act that allows deferment in extraordinary situations, the SC said that the petition was premature as the EC was yet to announce the poll schedule. When the petitioner's counsel argued that elections are not paramount but human life is, the bench said that the court cannot direct the poll panel to not hold elections and the ECI will take into account every situation.

Hailing the top court's verdict, Bihar BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said, "Every party that believes in democracy should have full faith in an independent and constitutional body like the Election Commission."

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