Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Friday directed the state government to execute the standard operating procedure (SOP) issued on January 4 in all districts in view of the COVID-19-19 pandemic and added that no rallies, dharnas or any other political gathering shall be permitted in the entire state, till the SOP is in operation.
The High Court of Karnataka today heard PILs seeking directions to the state government not to allow rallies, dharnas and to restrain Mekedatu padayatra organised by Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC). Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Suraj Govindaraj heard the matter.
Senior counsel Uday Holla appeared for respondent KPCC. Learned counsel informed the bench that the padayatra has been suspended, respecting the Courts observation.
The division bench asked for the decision of the government. On behalf of the government, the Additional advocate General appeared before the Court and made his submission that the government has issued notice to respondent and the government took all steps to ensure that padayatra is not taken out.
High Court said that the government has banned only this particular padayatra program but the respondent stand is that it's been temporarily suspended. Senior counsel Uday Holla informed the Court, if the pandemic situation and number of cases fall down, we should be allowed to carry out padayatra and not completely ban it.
HC said that since the submission made by the Assistant Advocate General (AAG), Counsel for the petitioner and Senior counsel for the respondent KPCC. In view of guidelines issued prohibiting padayatra, respondents suspended their padayatra by themselves. The purpose for which the writ petition filed does not exist, Court said.
Following this, the High Court directed the state government to strictly execute the Standard Operating Procedures issued on January 4 in districts of Karnataka. "No rallies, dharnas, any other political rally will be permitted during the COVID-19 pandemic and so long as the SOPs issued by the government of Karnataka is operational," the order informed.
Karnataka Congress on Thursday decided to postpone the Mekedatu Padayatra due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation. Addressing media persons, former Karnataka Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah said, "Karnataka Congress has decided to suspend Mekedatu Padayatra with immediate effect in view of the prevailing COVID-19 situation."
"Once the number of COVID-19 cases comes down, we will start the padayatra again from Ramanagara which will continue for seven days," he said.
The Mekedatu balancing reservoir-cum drinking water project, to be constructed across the Cauvery river basin, has been at the centre of controversy between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Earlier too on July 12, 2021, Bommai had said that the Centre will have to give clearance to the project as per law and there is no reason the state government will stop the project.