Avoid bringing crowds to rallies on vehicles, Madras high court tells parties

The Madras High Court’s Madurai Bench on Thursday directed political parties to not bring crowds on hired vehicles for campaign rallies for the Lok Sabha elections.

The court gave this direction while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Madurai based activist K K Ramesh.

“Political parties should not bring crowds to their rallies by hired trucks, buses and vans,” said a bench comprising of Justice M Kirubakaran and Justice SS Sundar.

The court sent notices to political parties seeking their response by March 27.

The court has also passed an interim order restraining political parties from erecting flex banners at public places.

“No political party should erect political flex banners, canvas boards at public places,” the judges said.

The court directed the Election Commission to take stringent action against people distributing and accepting cash for votes.

Reacting to the court’s direction, R S Bharathi, Rajya Sabha MP, DMK organizing secretary and senior advocate, said that they wile file a counter petition.

“We have our own strategies to conduct rallies. We will file a counter petition soon,” he told HT.

Babu Murugavel, AIADMK spokesperson, said his party will obey the rules.

“Already the EC has framed rules for conducting rallies. In that rule, it has clearly mentioned how a party should bring people. So, we will file our counter before the court. AIADMK will not act against the law,” he said.

Political analysts welcomed the direction, calling it timely. “Though elections are being seen as festivals, it is essential to regulate things. During 2016 assembly elections, a few elderly people had died in the then-CM Jayalalithaa’s rally in Cuddalore as there was a delay in starting the meeting as well as the hot weather. So, the busing in of crowds should be controlled,” said Aazhi Senthilnathan, a political analyst.

First Published: Mar 14, 2019 17:11 IST

Updated: March 14, 2019 — 4:53 pm