24 Jan 2022 12:53 PM GMT
The Allahabad High Court today dismissed a plea filed praying for a direction to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to provide online training to the presiding officers (who are susceptible to COVID), for the upcoming assembly polls in the State.The matter was heard in a special hearing conducted yesterday (Sunday) by the Bench of Justice Siddhartha Varma and Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav...
The Allahabad High Court today dismissed a plea filed praying for a direction to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to provide online training to the presiding officers (who are susceptible to COVID), for the upcoming assembly polls in the State.
The matter was heard in a special hearing conducted yesterday (Sunday) by the Bench of Justice Siddhartha Varma and Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav and it had sought ECI's reply as to whether training through online mode can be given to such individuals who were immunocompromised and whose family members were at risk.
Essentially, the Court was hearing a plea moved by Dayalbagh Education Institute that had submitted that 194 persons working with it had been called for poll duty training on 24th and 25th January 2022, by the ECI and that out of 194 individuals, a few of them are suffering from such diseases which would make them susceptible to Covid-19 infection.
Therefore, it had been prayed by the petitioner institute that those individuals who are susceptible to COVID be trained online by the ECI.
Court's proceedings on January 24
Today, the State Government submitted before the Court that January 23, 2022 itself, the District Magistrate/ District Election Officer, Agra, had come up with a circular stating that those persons who could not participate in the training may apply before the Committee constituted under the Government Order and the Committee would consider their difficulties.
On the other hand, the ECI submitted that the presiding officer (persons working with the petitioner institute) have to get themselves trained for operating VVPAT machines and the Electronic Voting Machines, and therefore, it submitted that this training could be given only when the officers are physically present.
It was further submitted by the ECI that ample arrangements had been made for observing social distancing at venues of training and, therefore, it was asserted that there was a remote chance of anybody getting infected.
Lastly, it was also stated that if there was any difficulty with regard to the training of teachers on a working day then arrangements, of course, would be made for their training on Saturday, the 29th of January 2022.
Against this backdrop, the Court opined that since the training is to take place today and tomorrow and since ample arrangements have been made for the training of such persons who cannot be trained on these two days, no interference is warranted in the instant case.
Lastly, taking into account the submission of the standing counsel and the counsel for the Election Commission that at the venue of training, there would be sufficient arrangements for social distancing, the writ petition was, accordingly, dismissed.
Case title - Dayalbagh Education Institute v. Election Commission Of India And 2 OthersCase citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AB) 23
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