A public interest litigation (PIL) outlining the detrimental effects of the pre-election campaigns run by political parties running Karnataka assembly elections was filed by Advocate Amruthesh NP through Advocate Viswanath Sabarad. One of the interim requests made in the petition was for a postponement of the two PM Modi road shows that were planned to take place in Bengaluru over the coming week. The petitioner told the court that political figures holding road shows in Bengaluru had been extending their campaign hours from the customary 1 or 2 hours to 4 or 5 hours, aggravating the people. The petition further emphasised that the PM Modi road show was anticipated to draw a sizable audience of 10 lakh party supporters on the city’s main commercial thoroughfares. The petitioner expressed worry that this would significantly disturb city residents and businesses that would be impossible for any political party to make up for. The petitioner further informed the court that similar road events were being planned by all political parties for May 9 and, if they win, even after the results are announced on May 13. Despite this, he asserted, the Bengaluru Police had not taken any safety measures to limit the negative effects of road shows.
In the petition before the High Court, it was asked that police files relating to the approval of licences and any associated traffic laws be examined. In the interest of justice and equity, it also requested a directive prohibiting the police from approving road shows in Bengaluru and Karnataka. To prevent any potential conflicts between political parties, the petition further pleaded for regulation and prohibition of road shows following the vote-counting procedure. It asked the Court to cancel PM Modi’s road show, which was set to take place on May 6 and 7, as a temporary remedy.
The two roadshows for Prime Minister Narendra Modi that are scheduled to take place in Bengaluru this weekend in advance of the State Assembly elections were refused permission to be stayed by the Karnataka High Court bench of Justices Krishna S. Dixit and Vijaykumar Patil.
The court stated that regardless of their political affiliation, planners will be held accountable in the event of any unfavourable incident. The Court noted during the hearing that demonstrations have been staged since the first general election in 1952 and that elections in India are viewed as festivals. In order for the general public to exercise their right of choice, it was stated that political rallies have a component of knowledge and information dissemination regarding the election process, and it was emphasised that the Supreme Court in Lily Thomas v. Union of India acknowledged the importance of this dissemination.