135 Covid deaths of persons on election duty: Allahabad HC takes judicial notice, asks state election commission why action should not be taken against officials

THE Allahabad High Court Tuesday took judicial notice of a news item stating that 135 teachers, Shiksha Mitras and investigators, who were assigned election duty, had died due to Covid19.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Varma Ajit Kumar sent a notice to the state election commission to explain why it had failed to check non-compliance of covid guidelines during various phases of the panchayat elections held recently and why action should not be taken against it and its officials for the same and those responsible be prosecuted for such violations.

The bench said it as been reported people leveled allegations that during recent panchayat elections, none of the covid guidelines had been followed. “It appears that neither the police nor Election Commission did anything to save the people on election duty from getting infected by this deadly virus”, the court said.

It also directed the state election commission to immediately take all measures in the forthcoming phases of the panchayat elections in the state to ensure that the covid guidelines dated 20.04.2021 of social distancing and face masking is religiously complied with, or “else action is liable to be taken against the officials involved in the election process”.

The court also made it clear that it would not tolerate any paperwork or public announcements declaring the steps taken to combat the virus as it was now an open secret that the government had become complacent in the belief the virus had weakened by the end of 2020 and had involved itself in other activities, including the panchayat elections.

“Had it been constantly vigilant, it would have prepared itself to face the onslaught of the pandemic in its second wave. Posterity would never forgive us if we remain oblivious to the real public health issues and let the people die for want of adequate health care”, the court said.

Click here to read the order