The Allahabad High Court ruled that the State must pay at least Rs. 1 crore in ex-gratia compensation to the families of polling officers who died as a result of the pandemic following the UP panchayat elections.
"It is not a case that somebody volunteered to render his/ her services during election," said a Division Bench of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar.
The UP government declared reimbursement of Rs. 30,00,000 for bereaved families on Friday (May 7, 2021). The UP government and the State Election Commission have been ordered by the High Court to reconsider the Rs 30 lakh compensation.
The Court noted, that the "payment must be at least Rs.100,000,000 in order to compensate for the loss of life of the family bread profiteer.
The High Court observed that the State Government and the State Elections Committee were well aware of the danger of a pandemic but were compelled to take risks by students, inspectors and Shiksha Mitras.
"We hope that the State Election Commission and Government will rethink over the amount of compensation," the Bench said.
The Court noted the tragic implications of allowing elections to take place, the Election Commission, Higher Courts and the government did not understand. In the course of the election duty, the High Court judicially notified 135 people of their deaths, who died after contracting COVID.
"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 had observed then.
A appeal to postpone UP Panchayat elections in the second COVID wave was refused in April the first week by the High Court and said that the State had appropriate security protocols in place.