SC may hear plea against poll road shows, bike rallies on March 15

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New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a PIL seeking to prohibit road shows and motorbike rallies by political parties during campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls as they violate law and breach of instructions issued by the Election Commission.

Refusing to an urgent hearing, the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, indicated the PIL could be taken up on March 15.

The PIL, filed by former Director General of Police Vikram Singh and social activist Shaivika Agrawal, contended that these road shows and bike rallies were detrimental to the environment and contribute to noise pollution, traffic jams and inconvenience to people.

Referring to Election Commission (EC) instructions issued earlier, the petitioners said the EC directives mandated registration of details of vehicles wherein a convoy can’t have more than 10 vehicles; two convoys must maintain a distance of 200 metre; more than half the road cannot be covered by organisers of a road show and the number of vehicles and people participating in it have to be intimated in advance.

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The PIL said most road shows involve star campaigners perched on modified vehicles, called ‘raths’. These royal ‘raths’ during elections are modified to accommodate all luxuries, including cabins, kitchen, toilets, hydraulic lifts, internet and television. Moreover, these ‘raths’ are expensive and in excess to the election expenditure allowed by the poll panel.

The PIL contended these raths were a “hazard in themselves” and star campaigners often travel at the door or sit on the top of the vehicle along with supporters.

Apart from violating traffic laws, this also leaves VVIPs vulnerable to danger and terror attacks, especially when there is a huge crowd in the proximity. “The road shows are also threat to the security of the SPG and other protectees having X, Y, Z security cover,” it said.

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–IANS

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