On Thursday a Divison Bench of the Karnataka High court asked the Government whether or not it will initiate criminal prosecution against leaders who paid fines thereby accepting their violations of COVID protocols during political rallies.
"Now the question is why State has not set the criminal law in motion against the violators as of today. If the concerned [political] persons have paid the fine, they have admitted to their violation. Therefore, the failure of the State to prosecute them will have a serious consequence," the bench comprising of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty asked.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by Letzkit Foundation, Bengaluru, and Sai Datta, a resident of the city. The plea was about the violation of the COVID-19 norms against the celebrities, elected representatives, political leaders and others during the rallies and demonstrations, reported The Hindu.
The bench while pointing out the punishment in addition to the fine imposed by the authorised officers stated that the violation of the COVID-19 norms as prescribed under the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Regulations,2020, is a cognizable and non-bailable offence in which the violator can be imprisoned for about 3 years and a fine of ₹2 lakhs can be imposed under Section 5 of the Karnataka Epidemic Disease Act 2020.
Famous actor Darshan, political leaders like former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D.K Shivakumar, several other party workers and Lok Sabha member Tejasvi Survya were booked by the police under non-cognizable offences and fine amounts were collected from them only when the court questioned about not imposing a fine.