The Allahabad High Court has deemed Rs. 1 Crore compensation to be given to families of polling officers and staff who lost their lives to Covid as a consequence of being on polling duty during the Panchayat elections in the state.
Adv. Tarun Agarwal appearing for State Election Commission agreed to file an affidavit on next date giving names of Nodal Officers who were entrusted with task to ensure that Covid-19 guidelines were duly followed during counting as also on the deaths of polling officers.
The court then considered the issue of compensation decided by the government for the deceased and observed that it was too less. The court was of the considered opinion that compensation should be at least Rs. 1 crore.
The counsels for the petitioners submitted that the amount decided by Government was too meager an amount considering the threat of pandemic was well known to the State Government as well as State Election Commission and yet the teachers, investigators and Shiksha Mitras were forced to take risk. The court observed that, “It is not a case that somebody volunteered to render his/ her services during election but it was all made obligatory to those assigned with election duty to perform their duties during election even while they showed their reluctance”.
The court further held, “To compensate the loss of life of the bread earner of the family and that too because of the deliberate act on the part of the State and State Election Commission to force them to perform duties in the absence of RTPCR support, the compensation must be at least to the tune of Rs.1,00,00,000/-.”
The court asked the State Election Commission and the state government to rethink over the compensation amount and make submissions on the next date, May 17.
State Primary Teachers Association President Dinesh Sharma has claimed that at least 706 teachers died due to Covid-19 after continued duty at the panchayat polls. In fact, on April 29, the Association had even sent a letter to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and State Election Commission to request a postponement of the elections but to no avail.
Courtesy: Sabrang India
The complete order may be read here: