Supreme Court refuses to postpone Bihar elections due to COVID-19, says `can`t interfere with CEC power`

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Bihar Assembly election 2020

Petitioner Avinash Thakur had sought a direction to the Chief Election Commissioner to postpone the polls due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the ground that the Representation of the People Act provides for the deferment of polls in extraordinary situations. 

PATNA: The Supreme Court on Friday (August 28) dismissed a petition seeking to defer the Bihar assembly elections till the state is free of the novel coronavirus stating that the ongoing pandemic cannot be a ground for postponement of polls. 

The Election Commission of India will consider everything, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan was quoted by PTI. The bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, said it is a premature petition as no notification for the assembly polls has been issued till now.

Petitioner Avinash Thakur had sought a direction to the Chief Election Commissioner to postpone the polls due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the ground that the Representation of the People Act provides for the deferment of polls in extraordinary situations. 

“How can we ask the Election Commission of India (ECI) to not hold elections? COVID cannot be a valid ground for postponement of elections,” the bench stated.

The petitioner’s counsel said the RP Act provides for the deferment of polls due to an extraordinary situation. To this the bench said it is for the ECI to decide and the court cannot direct the poll panel to not hold elections.

The petitioner’s counsel also argued that elections are not paramount but human life is, and even MLAs and common people are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bench said it cannot pass orders for the deferment of polls and the ECI will take into account every situation. It said no writ can be applied like this and dismissed the PIL.

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