The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday issued notices to the Union and state governments on a petition seeking direction to "prosecute and punish" the persons responsible for the coronavirus spread in the central Indian state.
The High Court also issued notices to the Election Commission of India and the State Election Commission on the petitioner PC Paliwal's contention that top politicians and political workers from Madhya Pradesh participated in the electioneering for the Damoh assembly bypoll and elections in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerela and Puducherry "without caring for a face mask and social distancing".
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Atul Shreedharan heard the petition virtually.
Shortage of medical oxygen and medicines, black marketing of anti-viral drug Remdesivir, insufficient infrastructure in hospitals, dead bodies waiting for their turn for hours for last rites in crematoriums in Jabalpur and other parts of Madhya Pradesh are some of the points that Mr Paliwal, a lawyer and one of the petitioners, sought to draw the high court's attention.
Top politicians and political workers from Madhya Pradesh participated in the electioneering for the Damoh bypoll and elections in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerela and Puducherry "without caring for a face mask and social distancing", the petition said.
Such persons do not quarantine themselves and are openly moving in the public places after visiting the places where elections are taking place, which is a serious matter, it stated.
Apart from politicians, the police department, CRPF, Railways and other departments are sending their staff to the places where elections are taking place but they (such employees) return without following proper safety measures, the petition said.
It appears there is a complete failure of the government in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Paliwal said.
The petitioners requested the High Court to give directions to the respondents to take immediate steps with full capacity and strength towards preventing the spread of the coronavirus infection.
The petitioners also sought directions from the High Court to the electronic and print media to produce the videos and news items of election rallies and campaigning, dead bodies waiting for hours for the last rites and other related news, as and when directed.
The petition will be heard again on April 26.