A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against the Indian National Congress and its youth wing for allegedly violating the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines while protesting against the hike in fuel prices in various parts of India.
The plea, filed by Advocate-on-Record Om Prakash Parihar and Advocate Dushyant Tiwari on behalf of Advocate Supriya Pandita states that Indian National Congress, being a national political party possesses the responsibility to protect the citizens of India by following the social distancing norms that have been imposed in the country.
On the 29th June, the Indian National Congress launched a nationwide protest against the continuous hike of fuel price all over the country while citing that the cumulative 22-times increase since the oil companies started the cycle on 7th June totaled to Rs 9.17 for petrol and Rs 11.14 in diesel as on 29th June. People were seen marching across the country raising slogans against the BJP- ruling government for raising the fuel prices when the country was already fighting the consequences of the pandemic and the ongoing lockdown.
The present petition stated that they have violated social distancing norms by gathering in large numbers on 29th June for protesting against the hike in petrol and diesel prices in various parts of India. Additionally, the plea avers that members of the gathering were not even wearing masks, which is an antithesis to Article 21 of the Constitution of India and provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure Act, 1973 and Indian Penal Code, 1860.
“It is further pertinent to note that peaceful protest against the action/decision of the ruling party is not wrong, but doing it during the pandemic time is illegal and there is a high chance of increase of Coronavirus in all over India due to the irresponsible action of Respondent No. 1 and 2,” added the plea.
Further, the petition prays to give directions to the Police Authorities to register a case against the people who have violated the Social distancing norms and to investigate how they obtained permission to conduct such a nationwide protest. It also seeks to penalize the Indian National Congress and its youth wing for putting the lives of these protesters in peril.