New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Saturday (May 1) allowed the process of counting of votes of Uttar Pradesh Gram Panchayat polls while taking into note the assurance given by the State Election Commission that necessary measures will take place at counting centers in terms of COVID-19 guidelines.
A Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar took into note the submissions of the State Election Commission that Class I gazetted officials will be responsible for adherence to COVID-19 protocol at each counting centre, according to news agency ANI.
The Bench also directed that no victory rallies will be permitted throughout the state of Uttar Pradesh.
It also recorded the undertaking given by the State poll panel that CCTV recording will be done centre-wise and the footage will be preserved and given in the petition pending before the Allahabad High Court.
"After considering the various submission, we decline to interfere in the SLP (filed against Allahabad High Court order) while recording the assurance given by the State government as well as State Election Commission of Uttar Pradesh that necessary measures will take place in terms of guidelines issued from time to time," the bench noted in its order.
"The operating procedures mentioned herein will be adhered to by all the stakeholders as well as duty holders without any exception. It is stated across the bar that strict curfew will be imposed in areas that will be identified by the concerned authorities in and around counting centres to ensure that only authorised representatives will be able to visit counting centres," the order stated.
It also noted in the order that the state poll panel has agreed to notify the names of persons who will be in charge of the concerned counting centres.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for Uttar Pradesh Election Commission, assured the court that Class I Officer of the state government will be assigned to monitor each of the 800 counting centres and will be held accountable for the counting centres.
The apex court order came on a plea seeking directions so that COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines are followed for the Uttar Pradesh Gram Panchayat polls counting day.