Covid management not our prerogative, EC tells SC

New Delhi: The Election Commission, rattled over the strong high court observations related to conducting of just concluded assembly elections, told the Supreme Court on Monday that COVID-19 management was not its prerogative and it does not run the governance of the state.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah was told by senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the EC, that remarks of murder charges made by the Madras High Court against the Constitutional body were unwarranted and such conclusive remarks should not have been made without hearing the poll panel.

Election commission is not running the governance of the State. We only issue guidelines and directives. We don't have CRPF or any other force with us to check the people in rally. State Disaster Management Authority has to issue orders for limiting the people. There is a presumption that EC has responsibility for all this. We have nothing to do with COVID management, he said.

The high court had on April 26 castigated the EC for the surge in COVID-19 cases during the second wave of the pandemic, holding it "singularly" responsible for the spread of the viral disease, called it the "the most irresponsible institution" and even said its officials may be booked under murder charges.

The bench told Dwivedi that the poll panel should take the observations of the high court in the right spirit and said, "Nobody is criticising anybody. You have done a good job. Election Commission is a seasoned Constitutional body, entrusted with the responsibility to ensure free and fair election in the country. It should not be rattled by the observations made.

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