Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh government urged the Andhra Pradesh High Court to issue directions to the State Election Commission to put on hold its move to conduct gram panchayat polls in February 2021 to help it, complete the first phase of vaccination for Covid-19 by engaging the state machinery for the purpose.
The High Court division bench comprising justice D.V.S.S. Somayajulu held hearing on Tuesday on the additional affidavit filed by the state government seeking issue of directions to stay the implementation of election proceedings issued by the SEC for holding gram panchayat polls in February, 2021.
Government pleader C. Suman informed the court that the Centre issued guidelines for taking up Covid-19 vaccination and added that as the vaccination is likely to be taken up during January-February 2021, the state government is supposed to avail the services of employees on lines of employees deployed for durty during general elections.
Explaining the role of employees in the Covid-19 vaccination programme, the government pleader informed the court that in each vaccination session, 100 beneficiaries would be present with a five-member team of health personnel to administer the vaccine.
He said that the state government would deploy a huge posse of police personnel for providing security cover for the vaccine during its storage and transport and added that in case the gram panchayat polls are held at the same time, it would affect the vaccination programme.
Referring to the guidelines from the Centre to accord top priority for taking up vaccination programme, the government pleader informed the court that the state government was taking up the vaccination programme on a priority to safeguard the health of the people in the state.
In the additional affidavit, the state government also mentioned that though the number of Covid-19 cases was showing a dip due to a series of measures taken up by the government to curb its spread and to provide medical treatment to the affected persons in the state, a second wave of Covid-19 was palpable in several states in the country.
It further said that as the prevalence of Covid-19 was intense in the first wave in the state, it could be the same in the second wave from December 2020 to March 2021 and underlined the importance on the part of state government to take all requisite measures to contain the second wave.
Taking into consideration the state government’s plea, the judge directed the State Election Commission to file a counter-affidavit and adjourned the case for next hearing on December 18....