The ruling CPI (M) had to cut short its three-day conference in Kerala’s northern most district of Kasaragod as the High Court ordered there would be no meetings in the district that allow participation of more than 50 people.
The High Court order came in response to a PIL alleging that a recent order of the District Collector not allowing meetings with more than 50 in attendance was withdrawn “merely for the purpose of carrying out a political meeting in the said district”.
The CPI (M) District Conference was to be held till Sunday.
“Admittedly the infection is rising day by day and even as per the news reports it is scheduled to be highest by the 15th of February, 2022; the veracity of which we are not examining as of now. Suffice it to say that the Government cannot blow hot and cold by saying that they are not looking at the TPR and are more concerned with the hospitalization; which is very minimal, as propounded by the State…,” said the court.
The High Court also made reference to the order of Kerala government that limits invitees for even district level Republic Day celebrations to only 50. The High Court stated that the recent order of 20th January, which introduces restrictions in districts based on categories of severity and hospitalizations is “not a supercession of the earlier orders, instead a continuation”.
The court order also reiterated that the latest order by Kerala government has directed for 23rd and 30th, to be restricted to essential services only.
“In such circumstances, we issue an interim order directing the District Collector, the 4th respondent who is also the Chairperson of the District Disaster Management Authority to ensure that no meetings are conducted within the district allowing participation of more than 50 persons,” the order stated.
The petition was filed by Arun Raj, an Advocate Clerk in High Court. “Conducting District Conference by a major ruling political party CPI(M) at the time of resurgence of the COVID-19 infections in every district of the state of Kerala, has very much the potential of spreading Covid-19 infections among people participating,” the petition stated.
The Opposition in the state – Congress led United Democratic Front and the BJP – both have criticised the CPI(M) for organising these district conferences as Covid cases are escalating.