Election duty death: GO restricting time period to 30 days challenged, HC seeks reply from govt
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court has directed the state government to file a reply on a petition challenging its order regarding filing of Covid-19 compensation claims by government employees. The government order (GO) restricts the time period to claim compensation for government employees, who died due to Covid-19 after being allotted election duty, to 30 days.
A single judge bench of justice Manish Mathur on November 24, said: “It is submitted that paragraph 12 of the government order dated 01.06.2012 however has restricted this time period to merely 30 days for such government employees who were allotted work in election duty.
“And provides that compensation would be granted only in case death has occurred within 30 days of the person being found Covid positive. It is submitted that such fixation of time period is completely arbitrary and unreasonable and is also in the teeth of directions issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” added the court.
“The high court has taken serious note of the issue. Accepting the petition, the court has granted three weeks- time to the state government to file a counter affidavit,” said advocate Sharad Pathak, who represented the petitioner in court.
Dileep Kumar Yadav, a primary teacher in Ambedkar Nagar district, died on the 31st day due to Covid-19 after being allotted election duty. Kushlawati, wife of the deceased, was denied compensation, as the GO had restricted the time period to 30 days to be eligible for compensation.
Govt stats say...
According to the state government, 2,128 government employees died during election duty of which 2,097 succumbed to Covid-19 while 31 others died of other causes.
In Uttar Pradesh, the Panchayati Raj elections were held in four phases this year from April 15 to 29. The counting of votes was carried out on May 2.
Almost 95% of government employees assigned election duty and who died due to Covid-19 were teachers. The government initially made a provision for ₹30 lakh ex gratia but this covered only the day the employee was on election duty.
By this criterion, only 74 personnel died (40 due to Covid-19 and 34 for other reasons) during election duty.
The government later changed the definition of election duty to accommodate more personnel by increasing the duty period to 30 days.