SC dismisses plea seeking ban on roadshows, bike rallies during elections

PTI
Monday, 25 March 2019

"We are not inclined to entertain this," a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta told advocate Virag Gupta, who was appearing for petitioners Vikram Singh and environmentalist Shaivika Agrawal.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain a petition filed by a former DGP of Uttar Pradesh and an environmentalist seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to ban roadshows and bike rallies during polls. 

"We are not inclined to entertain this," a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta told advocate Virag Gupta, who was appearing for petitioners Vikram Singh and environmentalist Shaivika Agrawal.
 
Singh, a former Director General of Police (DGP) of Uttar Pradesh, and Agrawal had said in their plea that roadshows and bike rallies violate the ECI's instructions and cause damage to the environment.  

The petitioners had said that roadshows and bike rallies during the election period cause air, noise pollution and traffic jams, which result in inconvenience to the general public.
 
The plea had said that instructions issued by the ECI with regard to roadshows and political processions mandate that vehicles must be registered and a convoy cannot have more than 10 vehicles. 

As per the ECI's instructions, it added, two convoys must maintain a distance of at least 200 metres, more than half of the road cannot be covered and the number of vehicles and people joining the roadshow has to be intimated to the authorities in advance.
 
"However, the said instructions have remained on paper and are being violated with impunity by all political parties," the plea had said.
 
It had claimed that modified vehicles, often called "raths", are being used in these roadshows but they are in contravention to several rules, including the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 and the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.
 
The plea had also said VVIPs are vulnerable to terrorist attacks while campaigning in such 'raths' and roadshows are also a threat to their security.
 
"The nation has already lost a former prime minister due to a terrorist attack at a political rally. A former prime minister of Pakistan was also shot dead when she was standing through the sunroof of her vehicle in a political roadshow," it had said.
 
The plea had sought a direction to the poll panel to not allow roadshows during elections.

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