Allahabad HC Asks UP Govt for COVID-19 Data, Inoculation Plan and Higher Compensation 

The Bench asked the UP Government to raise the compensation amount to Rs. 1 crore to the families of the polling officers who died of COVID19 while on the Panchayat elections duty.

Allahabad High Court
Image for Representation. Image Source: Bar and Bench

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday directed both the Central and the Uttar Pradesh State Government to provide the court with their plan of action in reference to the inoculation of physically challenged persons who cannot be brought to the vaccination centers and persons who cannot register themselves on the portal online.

The court questioned that how does the State plan to vaccinate illiterate labourers and villagers who cannot register online.

“The Central Government and State Government are directed to place before this Court the programme by which they would vaccinate those illiterate labours and other villagers between the age group of 18 and 45 years if they are not able to register online for vaccination.”

The hearing was a part of the suo moto proceedings started by the court to observe the COVID-19 situation in Uttar Pradesh.

A Division Bench of Justice Ajit Kumar and Justice Siddhartha Verma ordered the State Government to form a three-member Pandemic Public Grievance Committee committee in every district within 48 hours. People can approach the committee directly to register their complaints and in rural areas, they can directly inform the SDM who can then convey the same to the committee for management, Bar and Bench reported.  The Court also added that the committee should also “take the trouble of looking into all the viral news itself.”

The Bench also observed that the health bulletin issued by COVID hospitals both private and government has not been updated.  Amongst other things the Court also found that the numbers related to COVID-19 deaths have not been shown date-wise between April 19, 2021, and May 2, 2021.

On the question of the availability of oxygen and other medical facilities, the Allahabad High Court said that the State might have given directives for procuring medical equipment but the main issue is that in reality how many of them is actually present in the community health centers.

“Such details are required to be known because in rural areas by and large the facilities are not available and the villagers are dying of Covid for want of proper care. Similar is the situation in the smaller cities.”

In addition to this, the Court also asked the State Government to submit an affidavit with specified details of COVID-19 related medical facilities in the districts of Bahraich, Barabanki, Bijnor, Jaunpur, and Shravasti for both rural and urban areas. The affidavit must also mention the number of tests along with the names of the laboratories in which they are performed in these areas. The data has to be from March 31, 2021 to till date, the Allahabad High Court added.

On the issue of the death of polling officers during the Panchayat elections and the following vote counting, the Bench observed that the compensation offered by the State is “very less” for the families who have lost their bread earner and given the fact that the State was aware of the risk that the pandemic posed to the lives of those at duty. The court has suggested that the State rethink the compensation amount and must raise it to Rs. 1 crore.

“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 amount of the compensation, in our considered opinion, is very less.”

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