HC Orders FIR Against Narendra Tomar, Kamal Nath for Flouting Covid-19 Protocols in Political Meetings in MP

·2 min read

The Gwalior bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday ordered FIRs to be registered against Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath for violating Covid-19 guidelines during their political meetings recently in Gwalior and Datia regions, respectively.

While rebuking politicians for showing irresponsible behaviour during ongoing pandemic, the bench issued extensive guidelines for holding political meetings amid coronavirus threat.

"In a contest/clash between right to campaigning and right to health and life, it is obvious that the right to health and life takes precedence. Right to health and life is comparatively more exalted, sacred and precious right when compared with the right to canvassing and campaigning," the court observed.

"The circumstances in the present case are extremely unfortunate where political leaders who are supposed to lead by example of conduct, behaviour and character have done little to protect the health and life of the common man by drawing him out of his home to be part of congregation called out by the political parties for gaining popularity and votes for the election," the court further observed.

The double bench of Justice Sheel Nagu and Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava accepted the arguments from petitioner’s counsel that no FIRs have been lodged against Tomar and Nath, who were present in the poll meetings in that took place in Gwalior and Datia, respectively.

Candidates concerned and the organisers were booked by the police for holding such political meetings.

The High Court has also issued set of guidelines for political gatherings in Gwalior-Chambal region, which include holding of virtual meetings by parties and physical gatherings, with permission from District Magistrate and Election Commission only in case virtual meeting is not possible.

The organisers will be required to deposit money with the administration for sanitisers and masks in double the amount in which the numbers of participants are expected to take part in the meeting. The organisers will be offering affidavits to make sure Covid-19 safety guidelines are followed in the political meetings.