Savvy Thakur

Published on: 13 November 2022 at 20:54 IST

The Allahabad High Court has ordered that Anganwadi workers in the state should refrain from participating in election-related activities because doing so could be harmful to public health.

Justice Alok Mathur in its order on held that, “This court is of the view that work which is being discharged by Anganwadi workers is of considerable importance, considering the fact that there is only one worker in one block.”

Further the Court added that, “If an Anganwadi worker were given election duty or any other job, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and other women would not be taken care of, which would be bad for the public’s health.”

The petition was being heard by Anganwadi workers from the Barabanki district, including Manisha Kanaujia, who wanted the court to tell officials to follow orders made by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary on November 19, 2019, and May 3, 2017, as well as a Government Order from November 9, 2013, which prevents officials from using Anganwadi workers and helpers in non-Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).

In addition, the petition cited two Central government orders that prohibit officials from delegating tasks to Anganwadi workers and helpers in local body elections.

Counsel for the petitioners, Abhilasha Pandey, claimed that workers are given the duty of Booth Level Officers (BLO), which is a full-time job related to the election and not a departmental responsibility.

The advocate contended that the caretaking and all-round development of young children in the age group of 3-6 years and the services rendered to pregnant and lactating mothers are adversely hampered by such duties, which is a clear violation of child rights.

According to the Food Security Act of 2013, the New Education Policy for 2020, and the National Policy for Children of 2013, “a child is eligible for free education, healthcare, and nutrition for at least 300 days in a year.”

Pandey stated, “The work done by Anganwadi workers cannot be undermined by passing any direction for departments to discharge their duties, especially during elections.”

The court granted the petition but stated that BLOs and other departments are prohibited from ordering Anganwadi workers to perform any other work or duty, including election duty.

“Let a duplicate of this request be served upon the Main Secretary, Legislature of U.P., Lucknow, with the goal that he might pass important orders and direct the Locale Justices in like manner,” the court added.

Related Post