New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to expunge critical remarks of the Madras High Court holding the Election Commission responsible for the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.
A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud also noted that the High court’s observations against the poll panel were harsh and at times off the cuff remarks are susceptible to misinterpretation.
However, the bench, also comprising Justice MR Shah, dismissed the plea by EC to restrain the media from reporting oral remarks made by a Division Bench of the Madras High Court, saying it will be a retrograde act and people deserve to know what is happening inside the Court.
With the advent of technology, there are real-time updates from a courtroom as a part of freedom of speech and expression of the press, the bench said.
On April 26, the Madras High Court had come down heavily on EC for not banning political rallies and ‘singularly’ blamed the poll panel for the second wave of COVID-19 in the county.
“Election Commission officers should probably be booked on murder charges,” the bench had said in an oral observation.
In its order today, the top court said, the Madras HC’s observations against the EC do not form part of the judicial order, hence no question of expunging them.
Justice Chandrachud said the case posed a delicate balancing of powers between the High Court and the EC, which were both constitutional authorities.
The top court also lauded high courts for commendable work done by them in effectively supervising the COVID-19 pandemic management.