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“Jaan hai toh jahan hai (the world exists only if you are alive),” Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav said while hearing a petition for bail that he granted. His comments on Covid-19 and the elections came after he observed that the court was very crowded. “If possible, consider postponing the election, because rallies and meetings can be held later when we all survive.”
Praising PM Narendra Modi for his government’s initiatives towards “free vaccinations” in a country with a huge population, the court also made similar requests to him. “He is admirable and the court admires him and requests the Prime Minister to take strict steps in view of the situation of this dreadful epidemic. Consider stopping and postponing rallies, meetings and upcoming elections…” the order said. “Our Constitution has given us the right to life under Article 21.”
The court directed that a copy of the order be sent to the registrar general of the Allahabad high court, the Election Commission and the central government.
Justice Yadav began by expressing concern over the rising number of Covid cases. “In view of this growing menace, several countries, like China, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany and Scotland, have imposed partial or total lockdowns,” he said, adding, “The third wave is knocking at our door. We have seen the devastation in the second wave. A large number of people were infected during the panchayat polls and West Bengal elections.”
“Now the UP elections are round the corner. Parties are holding rallies attended by lakhs of people where it’s impossible to follow Covid protocol. If it’s not stopped in time, the results will be more devastating than the second wave,” the court said.
“Election rallies of political parties should be banned to save the public from the third wave of corona. Parties should be asked to campaign through Doordarshan and newspapers,” the judge said.