The Allahabad High Court (HC) has now taken judicial notice of a news article in a Hindi daily that 135 students, 'shiksha mitras', and investigators appointed to election duty died during the state's Panchayat polls due to COVID-19. While hearing a PIL, a division bench comprising Justice Siddhartha Varma and Justice Ajit Kumar further directed the state Election Commission (EC) to take "immediate measures in the remaining phases of panchayat elections to ensure COVID guidelines are complied with, else action would be taken against the officers involved in the election process."
Issuing a show-cause notice to Uttar Pradesh EC, the Allahabad HC asked the poll body to explain why it failed to enforce Coronavirus protocols during Panchayat elections and prosecute those responsible for such violations. “It appears that neither the police nor Election Commission did anything to save the people on election duty from getting infected by the deadly virus,” the order said.
Instructing the government to take urgent remedial measure, the court observed: “We make it clear that we will not tolerate any paperwork or public announcements to show account of the steps taken and its sufficiency as it is now an open secret that the government had gone complacent due to weakening of virus impact by the end of 2020 in the state and the government got more involved in other activities, including Panchayat elections.”
Observing that the public health system is unable to cate to the needs of the people, the Allahabad High Court directed the government hospitals in Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Agra, Kanpur, Gorakhpur and Jhansi to display health bulletin system twice a day, apprising people of health updates of the patients to avoid visiting attendants to hospitals. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for May 3.
As India continues to battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, India so far has registered over 11,20,176, out of which, 8,04,563 have successfully recovered, while 11,414 have died. As per the latest reports from MoHFW, in the past 24 hours, 33,551 new cases, 26,719 fresh cases and 249 deaths have been reported. Currently, the total number of active cases in the state is 8,04,563.