The Election Commission of India (ECI) has approached the Supreme Court against the April 30 order of Madras High Court where it refused to gag the media on reporting about the April 26 comments made by Madras High Court about Election Commission where it remarked that ECI was “responsible for COVID-19 situation in the country and that it should probably be put on murder charges for failing to ensure compliance of COVID-19 protocol during election rallies.”
The Commission has sought directions to be issued to media houses to confine their reports to observations recorded in orders or judgments and to refrain from reporting on oral observations made during court proceedings in a case concerning COVID protocol for vote counting in Tamil Nadu.
The plea is an appeal against an April 30 order of Madras High Court which had refused to entertain ECI’s petition in this regard.
The plea states that the Madras High Court being an independent constitutional authority made “serious allegations of murder on another independent constitutional authority without any basis, which has ultimately dented both the institutions.”
The poll body has maintained that the appeal is against the “uncalled for, blatantly disparaging and derogatory remarks” made by Madras High Court.
The appeal states that consequent to the said observation made by the Division Bench of the High Court as against the Election Commission of India, “a dangerous trend appears to have started and a Criminal Complaint has been made against a Deputy Election Commissioner in relation to the aforesaid allegation as observed.”
“It is pertinent to point out herein that the aforesaid oral observations of the Division Bench of the High Court does not find any place or mention in the Order passed by the Division Bench. Thus, this High Court being a Constitutional Court of record at the first instance ought not to have made the said oral observations levelling serious allegations on the Election Commission of India without any proof whatsoever,” reads the appeal.
The plea states that Madras High Court Friday refused to entertain a petition by the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday seeking to restrain media from publishing the court’s oral observations blaming the poll body for the rise in Covid-19 cases.
ECI has submitted before the top court that the “damage to the reputation of the institution of the Election Commission of India, built over the years, is of such magnitude that even in the furthest corners of the country, having no relations whatsoever with the present elections, Covid infected persons are thinking that infection in his family/area and the subsequent damages is possibly because of the fault of the Election Commission of India”.