The Karnataka High Court reprimanded the Belagavi City Police Commissioner for not registering even a single First Information Reports (FIR) over the violation of COVID protocols of wearing masks and proper social distancing against the violators who attended the political rally organized by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by one of the cabinet minister i.e. Amit Shah at Belagavi on January 17 this year.
Petition filed by the National Human Rights Protection and Corruption Crime Control Commission Trust-
The rally was organized by Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the purpose of the Lok Sabha by-election to the Belagavi seats. No Covid protocols were followed by the hundreds of people who attended the rally. So the petition was filed by the Human Rights Commission to the High Court of Karnataka. Then the Belagavi Commissioner was ordered to file an affidavit in support of himself stating that the proper action was taken against the violators of Covid norms in the rally which was held on January 17.
What did the court say?
Earlier, on March 12, the Karnataka High Court had “prima facie” held that there was the violation of the Covid norms which were formed in 2020 i.e. rules regarding wearing of masks and reasonable social distancing in a rally. The court directed the Police Commissioner to explain what actions were taken against the violators of Covid norms in the rally.
On May 25, the division bench comprising of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj expressed their dejection over the affidavit presented by the Police Commissioner in favor of himself.
Divisional bench observed that the commissioner was wholly unaware about the provisions and laid down complete ignorance regarding provisions or regulations under the “Karnataka Epidemic Disease Act, 2020’. The supporting affidavit of commissioner shows that no FIR was filed for the violation of the norms.
The court directed the Police Commissioner to explain why even a single FIR was not registered for the breach of the provisions of the said Act of 2020.
The bench said that the Commissioner approached the matter very casually which is conspicuous from the affidavit. The commissioner only recovered the fine of Rs. 20,900 from the violators of the Covid norms in the rally which showed that the commissioner behaved casually.
The court directed the Commissioner to file a new fresh and supporting affidavit by June 3 of this year.
The court also “granted some time to the state government and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to file compliance report to the orders passed earlier by the next date.