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EC broad guidelines on polls challenged in Gujarat HC

Ahmedabad: The broad guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for holding polls during the Coronavirus pandemic was on Monday challenged in the Gujarat High Court as being in "complete contravention" of a Union Ministry of Home Affairs circular that prohibits any large

gathering.

As per a fresh set of guidelines issued by the ECI on Friday last, voters will be provided gloves while using EVMs and COVID-19 patients in quarantine will be allowed to vote in the last hour of polling, among other

measures.

The submission against the ECI guidelines has been made in a draft amendment to a PIL filed earlier seeking postponement of yet-to-be-declared schedule for by-elections to eight assembly seats in Gujarat in view of the pandemic.

Petitioner Farsu Goklani said the ECI guidelines for conducting general and by-elections during the pandemic is in "complete contravention" of the circular issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on July

29.

The MHA circular strictly prohibits "social/political/ ports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious functions and other large congregations, Goklani said in the plea.

The petition has sought the ECI guidelines to be quashed also because, it claimed, the poll body did not consult the central government before issuing them.

It said as per the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the ECI can defer an election after consulting the central government, and if the latter certifies that it is difficult to hold the election.

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