Competent authority asked to conduct the election expeditiously
Jabalpur: Madhya Pradesh High Court on Friday 8 October 2021 quashed the 25 August order of of the SDO Bhopal staying the election process of Bhopal Chambers of Commerce and Industries (BCCI) and ordered the competent authority to conduct the election “expeditiously strictly following Covid-19 protocol”.
The order has been isued by Justice Vishal Dhagat in response to a writ petition by Krishna Gopal Gattani and othres. The Madhya Pradesh Government, Bhopal district collector, Lalit Jain, President Bhopal Chambers of Commerce and Industries and Mukesh Sen, Secretary Bhopal Chambers of Commerce and Industry were respondents in this case.
Through the petition, the High Court was informed that some people were active and they were trying to delay, defer and cancel the election process of BCCI. Further, the petition said that 99-100 persons filed W.P. No. 16436/2021 before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur which was dismissed on 26 August 2021. The Election Officer and office bearers of BCCI had assured the authorities that all the guidelines and protocols of Covid-19 shall be followed and that there would be no flouting or violation of the protocols in any manner at the election site. However at the instance of some persons who wanted to defer the elections, the District Collector stayed the of voting schedued on 29 August 2021.
The case was heard hrough video conferencing. Senior advocate Ajay Gupta was the petitioner’s counsel in this case.
The Petitioner had filed the petition for quashing the order of 25 August 2021 issued by the respondent No.2 District Collector, Bhopal staying the election process of Bhopal Chambers of Commerce and Industries.
The Counsel appearing for the petitioners submitted that election was to be conducted on 29 August 2021 and it was stayed by order of S.D.O. on ground that a lot of people will congregate at place of election for voting, which will be against Covid-19 protocol and thus, Secretary/Election Officer
was directed to maintain status quo.
The Counsel appearing for the petitioners submitted that election of other institutions are taking place, schools and colleges are open, Courts are functioning by hybrid mode and physical appearances are being allowed in Courts, markets are also open and there is no lockdown. It was submitted that petitioners will take care of Covid protocol and they will not violate any of the guidelines issued in respect of Covid-19 protocol. It was also submitted that respondent No.4 (Mukesh Sen, Secretary/election officer, Bhopal Chambers of Commerce and Industry) be directed to conduct the elections strictly following Covid-19 protocol.
Panel Lawyer appearing for the State opposed the writ petition. He submitted that there were possibilities of violation of protocol of Covid 19, therefore, S.D.O. had passed the order staying the election.
Considering the facts and circumstances of the case and also the Covid-19 situation in the State, the High Court issued the order quashing the Bhopal district order staying the election process of Bhopal Chambers of Commerce and Industries.