E A S Sarma
Shri Sushil Chandra
Chief Election Commissioner
Shri Rajiv Kumar
Shri A C Pandey
Dear S/Shri Sushil Chandra, Rajiv Kumar and Pandey,
I had earlier requested the Union Home Secretary, under intimation to you, that political parties should not be allowed to hold rallies in view of the impending Omicron crisis.
Now that there is a significant spurt in the incidence of Omicron all over the country, it is imperative that the political parties should be advised not to hold rallies which will become superspreaders of the virus. While the political leaders may contend that those rallies are not connected with the Assembly elections, in reality, the tone and the tenor of the speeches delivered by the leaders are such that they should be deemed to be pre-election rallies and the Election Commission of India (ECI) should step in.
Even if the Model Conduct for the elections has not come into force in any of the poll-bound States, considering the nature and the intent of the rallies and their potential implications for the ensuing elections, in the overall public interest, the ECI would be justified in advising all the political parties, the governments at the Centre and in the States to refrain from holding public meetings, which in anyway would violate the Union Home Ministries’ advisories under the national disaster management law and Sections 269 and 270 of the IPC (“spreading infectious diseases likely to endanger the people’s health”).
The ECI could in addition be guided by the advice given by the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court on the need for suspending rallies in view of the dangerous spread of the virus.
In view of the overall public interest considerations, the ECI would be in its right and also has the obligation to ask all the political parties, the Centre and the concerned States not to hold any rallies as a prelude to the coming elections.
I hope that the ECI would consider this appeal and act prudently, urgently, consistent with the public interest.
E A S Sarma
Former Secretary to GOI
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