● A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court asking for a stay on the scheduled public swearing-in ceremony of Kerala's newly elected Left Democratic Front (LDF) government.
● The petition, signed by activist K M Shahjahan, asks the Kerala government to follow the COVID-19 protocol and prohibit all public gatherings.
● The newly-elected LDF government's swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for May 20, in Thiruvananthapuram, before a gathering of more than 500 invited individuals.
● Thiruvananthapuram is already under “triple lockdown”.
● Aside from the 140 newly elected MLAs, 29 members of the State Parliament, as well as representatives from the judiciary and the media, would be invited to the function.
● The petition filed against the decision aims to direct the State of Kerala to stop the ceremony or to hold it virtually as an option or to limit the attendance to 75 people.
● According to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed with the Supreme Court, the function can jeopardise people's health.
● The petition requests that the physical swearing-in ceremony be cancelled or limited in attendance, citing the triple lockdown imposed in the state to combat the spread of COVID-19. Nearly 500 people are expected to attend the ceremony in Thiruvananthapuram.
● The conduct of the public swearing-in ceremony by the Government of Keralais a "reckless act" in violation of the same laws and protocols that it enforces on the general public.
● It further stated that on the one hand, the Kerala government is enforcing lockdowns and forcing the general public to confine themselves to the four walls of their homes, foregoing their livelihood and other pleasures, while on the other hand, the State Exchequer is spending vast sums to organise a super spreader public event to demonstrate its strength and celebrate its victory in the recently held election ( which was also one of the reason for the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the State)
● The petitioner claims that COVID restrictions were violated during the funeral of Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom and Smt. KR Gowri Amma and has asked all states to establish a uniform Standard Operating Procedure prohibiting any kind of public meeting of more than 50 people in any circumstances for a minimum of one month.
Pinarayi Vijayan Stated
● Vijayan previously told reporters that the ceremony, which is scheduled for 3.30 p.m. on May 20, will follow COVID-19 protocol.
● The oath of office will be administered by Governor Arif Mohammad Khan to 21 Ministers, including the Chief Minister.
● According to Vijayan, the event will be held in the presence of 500 invited guests at the stadium, which has a capacity of 50,000 people.
● He said that in addition to the 140 newly elected MLAs, 29 members of the State Parliament, as well as representatives from the judiciary and the media, would be invited to the function.
● The government stated that access to the venue would be regulated by an entry pass, and that all seating arrangements, including those on stage, would be made in accordance with the current COVID-19 protocol.
● The order stated that entry would be restricted to people with Covid-negative results obtained within 48 hours or on production of a final certificate of COVID vaccination.
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