Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government can hold its oath ceremony keeping in mind the need for reduced number of attendees amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kerala High Court said today. The high court left it to the Pinarayi Vijayan government to decide on the number of guests other than MLAs and new ministers it may consider inviting to the ceremony scheduled tomorrow at Central Stadium in state capital Thiruvananthapuram.
Political parties should take a call on whether the attendance of all MLAs is needed, the high court said. It cited the examples of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, which despite having a higher number of MLAs, held a much smaller oath ceremonies due to the pandemic.
“Kerala, a forerunner in COVID-19 management, should restrict the number to the maximum to avoid the widespread infections,” the high court said.
Family members of MLAs are not required to participate in the ceremony, but those of political leaders set to be made ministers may attend, the high court said. MLAs can see the ceremony from their homes via video-conference, the high court said.
It allowed only government officials who will be part of organising the ceremony to attend the event.
“Government of Kerala shall consider whether the presence of all the special invitees, including the member of the state committee of the political parties, are required to be present, in view of the utmost adverse situations prevailing due to the pandemic,” the high court said.
Kerala’s Left Democratic Front (LDF) government will take on board 20 new ministers, including Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA Veena George, who is likely to replace her party colleague, KK Shailaja, as the Health Minister.
The LDF led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) retained power in Kerala by winning 99 seats against 41 seats by the Congress-led United Democratic Front in the assembly election held last month. BJP didn’t win a single seat.