PIL In SC Seeks Ban On Roadshows, Bike Rallies During Election Campaigning
Former Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police and an environmentalist have moved the Supreme Court seeking a ban on roadshows and bike rallies during election campaigning saying the same was against the law and the instructions issued by the Election Commission besides being a cause of air and noise pollution.
The petition moved by former DGP Vikram Singh and environmentalist Shaivika Agrawal said the roadshows and rallies cause damage to the environment as well as traffic jams, air and noise pollution besides being a nuisance to the public.
The petition filed through advocate Virag Gupta and filed by Rajeshri Nivuratiroa Reddy came up for hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi but the court refused to grant an urgent hearing.
The petition lists about 87 incidents of road shows and bike rallies starting from BJP's Ram Rath Yatra in 1990 to the recent rallies for the upcoming general elections and said, "the instructions issued by the Election Commission mandate for mandatory registration of details of vehicles wherein a convoy cannot have more than 10 vehicles, two convoys must maintain a distance of minimum 200 m, more than half the road cannot be covered and the number of persons and vehicles joining the roadshow has to be intimated in advance.
"However, such instructions have remained on paper and are being violated with impunity by all political parties".
It said most roadshows involve star campaigners perched on modified vehicles which have all luxuries like kitchen, toilet, internet, TVs etc and are way in excess of the election expenditure allowed by the EC.
Such modified vehicles or raths are also in violation of the Motor Vehicles Act and Central Motor Vehicle Rules.
It said the political roadshows leave VVIPs vulnerable to dangers and terror attacks besides also causing a threat to the security of SPGs and other protectees having X, Y and Z security cover.
"Such congregation during roadshows is also vulnerable to terror attacks and may cause many more casualties due to the crowd gathered around the star campaigner. The nation has already lost a Prime Minister due to a terror attack during political campaigning.
Referring to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the PIL said, "A former Prime Minister of a neighbouring country was also shot dead when she was standing through the sunroof of her vehicle in a political roadshow."
"The nation spends billions on security of a few individuals and they cannot be allowed to put themselves in more danger, for mere political gains," said the PIL.
It also referred to a research by the Centre for Accountability and Systematic Change which says there may be more than 40 violations in almost all roadshows, and organisers, star campaigners, political parties, supporters and local administration should be held liable for the same but hardly any action is taken against the big and the mighty.