The Allahabad High Court has refused to postpone the Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Election, scheduled to be held from 15th April, 2021, in light of the recent surge in Covid-19 cases.
A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery said that adequate health protocol has been notified to be followed at the election booths. Thus, there is no need to stall the electoral process.
"All necessary care as such shall be taken by the State to prevent spread of infection during the course of panchayat raj elections," it observed while dismissing the PIL for postponement.
The Petitioner in this case had submitted that looking to the massive surge in Corona Virus infection in different parts of the State, it would be against the public interest to hold panchayat elections in rural areas.
It was argued that if elections are held at such a time, enormous injury would be caused to the health of public at large and that would be in contravention to Article 21 of the Constitution.
The Division Bench however observed that there is no merit in these arguments.
"The State while notifying elections in panchayat raj institutions has already declared a protocol to be adhered during the election campaign of the elections," it said.
The Bench further referred to the directions passed by the High Court in In-Re Inhuman Condition At Quarantine Centres case, for the State Government to follow during the entire process of elections.
"The Panchayat Raj Elections should also be conducted in such a manner that no congregation of people takes place. Be it nomination, be it canvassing or be it the actual voting, it should be seen that all COVID-19 protocols are observed," the High Court had ordered in that case.
Case Title: In Re - Postponement Of UP Panchayat Election 2021