Deciding body (English)
Type of body
Type of Court (material scope)
Type of jurisdiction
Further areas addressed
Outcome of the decision
The Petitioner, in the public interest, inter-alia seeks that this Court declare all kinds of public and social gatherings, processions. or parades in the 'name of election oriented organizational activities' by the political parties, to be unconstitutional and illegal during the period when the COVID-19 protocols are in force. Additionaly requests as an interim measure, that such activities be banned, particularly between May 1, 2021 and May 4, 2021. Case reserved for verification of compliance in this regard by the Court.
Facts of the case
The Petitioner, in the public interest, inter-alia seeks that the High Court direct the political parties and their associate organizations, cited as Respondents in this case, to refrain from organizing any kind of political or social activities with public gatherings, processions or victory parade or any kind of gatherings, from May 1, 2021 to May 5, 2021, in connection with counting of votes and declaration of results with respect to the General Election to the Kerala State Legislative Assembly and in general, during the period of COVID-19 regulations; violating the COVID-19 regulations issued by the appropriate authorities, during the pendency of this Writ Petition.
Type of measure challenged
Measures, actions, remedies claimed
Individual / collective enforcement
Nature of the parties
Type of procedure
Conclusions of the deciding body
The claim was upheld in the form of directions being issued. The State is directed to take effective and requisite steps to ensure that no social or political assemblies, meetings, gatherings, processions or parades of any kind in violation of the COVID-19 protocols, as also the directives of the Election Commission of India, both general and those contained in its order dated April 27, 2021, and the mandate of the Government Order dated April 26, 2021, are held anywhere in the State of Kerala – including at the counting stations or offices and establishments of political parties between May 1, 2021 and May 4, 2021.
Action to avert, avoid and prevent any violation of these orders under the applicable laws, including the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act.
Reasoning of the deciding body
The Court stated that this writ petition cannot be adversarial since its averments, in its inherent nature and tenor, present a compelling public cause. The upward curve of the pandemic spread shows climbing by the day, reminding all of us to act responsibly and with extreme care. The 'social distancing' protocols are necessary and need to be enforced effectively and unreservedly. Hence strict prevention, rather than initiation of punitive action after infractions is the need of the hour. The Court, learning from the noncompliance that occurred during the election campaign period by directives of the Election Commission of India and the Government, found it necessary to issue this Order. The case was reserved for verification of compliance in this regard by the Court.
Fundamental Right(s) involved
- Freedom of association, Public gathering, Assembly
- Right to good administration
Fundamental Right(s) instruments (constitutional provisions, international conventions and treaties)
- Right to Life and Personal Liberty, art. 21, Constitution of India
- Freedom of association, art. 19 (1) (b) and (c), Constitution of India
Rights and freedoms specifically identified as (possibly) conflicting with the right to health
- Health v. freedom of association / public gathering
- Health v. free and fair election
General principle applied
Balancing techniques and principles (proportionality, reasonableness, others)
The upward curve of the pandemic spread shows climbing by the day, hence the need to act responsibly and with extreme care. And hence the need to enforce the social distancing protocols and the need to be enforced effectively and unreservedly, no matter the excuse some may make against it. Therefore, the need for strict prevention, and the need to issue orders by the Court.