All India Bar Association seeks to delay elections in 5 states amid Covid outbreak
The Bar Association of India (AIBA) on Sunday sent a representation to the Election Commission of India asking to postpone the upcoming elections in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand due to the spread of the variant Omicron from COVID-19.
Lead attorney Dr Adish C Aggarwala, President of AIBA, said that today, during election rallies, huge numbers of people gather without adhering to Covid protocols. The representation said that if the elections in these states are not postponed until the end of Omicron COVID-19, lakhs of people will die again in India despite the best efforts of central government and state governments, such as what happened in the second wave of COVID-19.
The representation said that the second wave of COVID-19 was also spread by the negligence of the Indian people during the elections held in 4 states, namely Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal and a Union territory, namely Pondicherry.
The Election Commission of India did not care about the health and safety of the Indian people. On the contrary, the Assembly elections have proceeded according to schedule without regard for the health and lives of Indian citizens, he said.
“Now the other 5 states namely Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are going to have Assembly elections on schedule without considering that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is gaining in peak and that health emergencies have been imposed in many Indian states and various other countries. Various countries, such as China, Netherlands, Germany, etc. have imposed partial or full lockdowns due to the increase in COVID-19 cases “said the representation
âNow, again, the same situation is developing due to the campaign trail for the Legislative Assembly election. Day by day, Omicron COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly. But it is shocking to see that then of a press conference in Lucknow on 12/30/2021, India’s Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said there would be no delay in holding the next Assembly poll in the state after meeting with representatives of all political parties who urged it to hold the elections on time, âadded the representation.
India’s Election Commissioner has taken the decision to guarantee the interests of the political parties and not of “We the Indian people”, which amounts to around 135 crore. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution sets out the right to life and no constitutional authority should violate this most precious right, the representation said.
Lead lawyer Dr Adish C Aggarwala also said that the aspirations of political parties to hold elections on time cannot and should not be more important and valuable than the right to life as guaranteed by article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Under section 153 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, read together with section 324 of the Constitution of India, the Election Commission may extend the time limit for the completion of an election for the reasons it considers sufficient to extend the deadline for the completion of any election.
Therefore, elections can be postponed even after an election calendar has been notified. In the present case, it is easier to postpone the elections due to the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 pandemic as no electoral timetable has been notified by the Indian Election Commission so far, he said. he adds.
“Public order, natural disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic, earthquakes and floods, or any other compelling circumstance that is beyond the control of the electoral commission, may be grounds for extension,” said the representation .
âIt is relevant to point out that in 1991, the Election Commission postponed the current parliamentary elections for three weeks after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. In March 2020, Rajya Sabha’s 18-seat election was postponed by the Election Commission due to the Covid-19 pandemic, “he added.