The Madhya Pradesh High Court (Gwalior Bench) on Friday (25th September) acknowledged the fact that the COVID pandemic is on the rise in the district of Gwalior and that the number of deaths is also on the rise.
The Bench of Justice Sheel Nagu and Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava came to the aforesaid conclusion while perusing the statistics of the increasing number of persons found to have tested COVID-19 positive.
The Court further observed,
"In such a situation if the Executive Authorities do not prevent the congregation of a large number of people in violation of restrictions laid down by the Central Government, State Government and the District Magistrate then this Court may have to step in to do something which the Executive Authorities of the State failed to do." (emphasis supplied)
Court's Observations on the last date i.e., on Friday (18th September)
It may be noted that on the last occasion [Friday (18th September)], the Madhya Pradesh High Court had observed that "law, whether statutory or in the shape of the executive instructions deserves respect & obedience, as much from a common man as from a leader, a political functionary and even the head of State."
The Division Bench of Justice Sheel Nagu and Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava, while hearing a plea seeking directions for respondents authorities to take action to restrain the function organized by the political parties in the State, had also cited the maxim "Be you ever so high, the Law is above you".
Further, as an interim measure, in the interest of the public at large, rather in the interest of the Nation, the Court had directed that till next date of hearing Political Functionaries and the Functionaries of the State shall strictly abide by the "Covid-19 protocol" prescribed by the Central Govt., State Govt. and the District Magistrate of the concerned District from time to time for regulating the congregation of any nature.
Looking to the important nature of cause raised in the Public Interest Litigation, Advocate Sanjay Dwivedi, Advocate Raju Sharma, and Advocate V.D.Sharma were appointed as Amicus Curiae to assist this court for rendering justice.
Court's Observations on Friday (25th September)
On Friday (25th September), Amicus Curiae in the matter, Advocate Sanjay Dwivedi, Advocate Raju Sharma and Advocate V.D. Sharma filed a joint report which revealed instances of breach of the interim order passed by the Court on the last occasion by allowing congregation of a large number of people.
The Amicus Curiae, Advocate Raju Sharma and Advocate Dwivedi further informed the Court that due to the forthcoming bye-election to the vacant seats of the legislative assembly in the State of M.P., the said congregation in breach of prohibitive order of Central Government, State Government and the District Magistrate took place.
On the other hand, Additional Advocate General pointed out that a petition seeking deferment of the general election of the legislative assembly of State of Bihar filed in the Apex Court on the ground of on-going Covid-19 pandemic was dismissed.
Lastly, the Court directed that the matter be taken up on 29.09.2020. Before the next date of hearing, the following ought to be ensured:-
(i) State to file a reply in response to the joint report of amicus curiae.
(ii) State to produce the order of Apex Court in regard to the election to the legislative assembly of the State of Bihar.
(iii) Registry to supply a copy of joint report of amicus curiae to the petitioner and as well as learned Additional Advocate General within two days.
Case Title: Ashish Pratap Singh vs. State of M.P. & Ors.
Case No.: WP-13544-2020
Quorum: Justice Sheel Nagu and Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava
Appearance: Advocate Rajesh Sharma (for the Petitioner); Additional Advocate General Ankur Modi (for the Respondent/State); Advocate Sanjay Dwivedi, Advocate Raju Sharma, and Advocate V.D.Sharma (as amicus curiae).
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