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Supreme Court stays High Court order to have only virtual campaign for Madhya Pradesh bypolls

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court stayed an October 20 Madhya Pradesh High Court order asking all concerned to switch to a virtual campaigning mode during the bypolls in view of Covid-19.

A three-judge bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar stayed the order on Monday and asked the Election Commission (EC) to do the needful to ensure social distancing during the pandemic.

The EC had opposed the order on the grounds that how to conduct elections was an area in its exclusive jurisdiction and that the high court was wrong to have stepped in. The EC was represented in court by senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi and standing counsel Amit Sharma.

Justice Khanwilkar was, however, critical of the EC for not getting the authorities to act. “Your role is wider. You should have informed the authorities. Public meetings need not be regulated but (Covid) protocols must be followed. You need to set the situation right and ask the authorities to act,” he said.

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