‘Municipal polls may turn out to be Super Spreaders’: T’HC notice to SEC

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Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the State Election Commission, asking it to furnish a plan that it proposes for managing crowding of voters at polling booths during upcoming Municipal elections amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In the absence of any information about the course of action charted out either by the State or the State Election Commission to manage and control the crowds, it is deemed appropriate to issue notice to the State Election Commission,” a Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy ordered.

It has asked the Commission to file an affidavit by tomorrow (April 28), furnishing inter alia the plan of action for managing crowding of voters at polling booths on April 30, at the premises where counting shall take place and on the declaration of the results.

The order assumes significance in view of observations made by the High Courts of Madras and Allahabad recently, regarding negligent attitude of their respective State Election Commissions, that augmented the spread of Covid-19 infection.

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The Division Bench at Telangana said that having regard to the recent experience of rampant of spread of the infection in other Poll bound States, there is a genuine apprehension that the elections going to be conducted on April 30 will turn out to be “super spreaders” with cases exploding within a week or ten days after the elections.

Nevertheless, it noted, no plan has been placed on record as to how the State proposes to manage the crowds on the date of the polling, during the counting and when the results are declared.

Elections of Municipal Corporations and the Municipalities are due to be held on April 30 in five Districts of Telangana. In view thereof, the matter is kept for hearing tomorrow, i.e. April 29.