Court in India's Most Populous State Urges to Delay Election Over Omicron
06:45 GMT 24.12.2021 (Updated: 10:41 GMT 19.07.2022)
Earlier this year, when elections were held in four Indian states, despite COVID protocols, thousands of people gathered in election rallies without wearing masks or maintaining social distancing, leading to India reporting up to 300,000 new COVID cases per day during April-May.
A court in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, has urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to postpone the upcoming local elections by a month or two over the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
Elections in Uttar Pradesh, along with four other states - Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa, and Manipur are scheduled to be held around February- March in 2022.
The Allahabad High Court on Thursday also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban election-related gatherings in the state.
"If rallies are not stopped, results will be worse than the second wave," Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav said in his observation.
As the State Assembly elections are about coming close, all the political parties are mobilising hundreds of thousands of people by holding rallies and meetings where it is not possible to follow COVID protocols, including social distancing, in any way, the court further commented.
Invoking Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, Justice Yadav said all Indians have a Right to Life.
India on Friday reported 6,650 fresh COVID-19 cases. The country's caseload reached 34.7 million, and the active caseload currently stands at 77,516.
Earlier this year, after the election in four Indian states, the Madras High Court had slammed the apex election authority, saying the ECI is singularly responsible for the second wave of coronavirus.
"Were you on another planet when the election rallies were held?" the Madras High Court had stated on 24 April.