An intervention application has been filed on Wednesday in the Allahabad High Court in the PIL matter in-Re Inhuman Condition At Quarantine Centres And For Providing Better Treatment To Corona Positive v. State of Uttar Pradesh.
The application has been filed by advocates Kartikey Yadav and Naman Issrani for petitioner Rahul Gangele, who has been working as a teacher in a private university, Indore for the last 3 years.
The Intervenor sought the indulgence of the High Court with the sole purpose of safeguarding of interest and protecting the fundamental rights of the government teachers and employees and their family members and dependents, who contracted Covid-19 while discharging election duty during the UP panchayat elections and lost their lives due to Covid. (The PIL matter has been listed for May 22(Saturday) by an order of the bench of Justices Ajit Kumar and Siddharth Verma on May 17 which directed the government to come up with a report as to how the upgradation of Medical Colleges shall be done in 4 months time. The Principal of SRN Hospital has also been ordered to apprise the HC about the working of Centralized Monitoring System of both Covid and Post-Covid wards including ICUs by the next date fixed by filing an appropriate affidavit in this regard.)
The intervenor stated that panchayat elections were held between April 15 and 29, when the surge in Covid-19 cases were happening, and its results were declared on May 2. Thousands of UP government employees and teachers were assigned election duty.
The intervenor raised the grievance that regardless of the threat to their life and well-being, the government teachers and employees of the state of Uttar Pradesh were compelled to discharge election duties at the sole discretion of the Government, regardless of the danger it posed to not only their lives but also to the lives of their family members to whom they were to eventually return after elections.
The derelict act of state of Uttar Pradesh can be viewed by its decision to grant compensation of Rs 30 lakh only to family members and dependants of government employees who had lost their lives while discharging election duty. By another order dated May 8, the state of Uttar Pradesh issued a direction vide dated May 5 which provides for monetary compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the families and dependents of those personnel who have lost their lives in prevention and treatment of Covid-19 pandemic.
It was the obligation of the state to take appropriate measures for ensuring safety of its employees from infection, but on account of failure of State Government to adhere with the Covid-19 protocol , large numbers of government employees and teachers contracted Covid-19 while discharging election duty.
The High Court of Allahabad vide order 06.04.2021 issued directions to District Administration including Police Authorities to see that no crowding takes place in any place all over UP and if it finds that any particular place which is likely to get crowded, then it should cordon off that area and see that people do not huddle.
This Hon’ble Court specifically directed that the Panchayat Elections should also be conducted in such a manner that no congregation of people takes place. Be it nomination, be it canvassing or be it the actual voting, it should be seen that all Covid-19 protocols are observed. Even after the directions of this Hon’ble Court there is failure on the part of the Government of Uttar Pradesh to adhere to the Covid-19 protocol that such a large number of government employees and teachers suffered from Covid-19 infection while discharging election duty.
That vide order dated 7.4.2021, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Special Leave Petition (Civil) Diary No.- 10698 of 2021 recorded an undertaking by the State Election Commission that counting will be supervised through CCTV cameras to be installed at the designated counting centers and those who were in charge of the counting centers would be held responsible for any lapse regarding compliance of Covid-19 guidelines. It is thus clear that even after the statement given by the State Election Commission before the Apex Court the state election commission in connivance with the State Government did not adhere to the Covid-19 safety rules and regulations for conducting the elections, thereby avoided to stand by their statement given by them before the Supreme Court of India which is clearly a contempt of court.
The intervenor, Rahul Gangele, sought the following prayers in his intervention application:
1. Issue writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate order, writ or direction directing the respondents to provide equal treatment to the Government teachers / staff and their dependants / family members as has been done by the State Government in relation to other Government officers / personnel performing Covid-19 duties at the directions of the State Government while deciding ex-gratia compensation and other benefits; and
2. Issue writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate order, writ or direction directing the respondents for awarding additional monetary compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the family members/dependents in respect of default in providing medical facilities to the government teachers who lost their life while discharging their election duty due to Covid-19.
3. Issue writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate order, writ or direction directing to the respondents to consider and provide compassionate appointment to the eligible family members of government employees, who sacrificed their lives due to Covid-19 while discharging election duty.