Allahabad HC restrains deployment of anganwadi workers in election duty

Work done in taking care of children and women cannot be undermined, says court

Published - November 13, 2022 05:15 am IST - New Delhi

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court. File

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Allahabad High Court’s Lucknow Bench has restrained the Uttar Pradesh Government from deploying anganwadi workers in election-related work.

A Single Bench of Justice Alok Mathur in its order said that the duties being discharged by anganwadi workers is of considerable importance.

“Looking into the fact that in one block there is only one worker and if that one anganwadi worker is assigned duty in elections or any other work, then all nursing and lactating women and pregnant women would not be taken care of. This would adversely affect the health of the public at large,” the court observed.

The petitioners are those working in anganwadis in Barabanki district.

Counsel for the petitioners told the court that the petitioners were engaged in booth-level officers duty, which is election-related, full-time work and is unrelated to their core tasks.

“The caretaking and all-round development of young children of 3-6 age group and the services rendered to pregnant and lactating mothers are adversely hampered by such duty which is in clear violation to child rights that mandate that children get at least 300 days in a year free nutrition, health care and education as envisaged in the Food Security Act, 2013; the New Education Policy, 2020 and the National Policy for Children, 2013,” counsel said.

The lawyer representing the State, in a counter, maintained that the work of elections is of supreme importance in a democracy and all the officers have to act and assist during such process.

In its order, the court maintained that the work done by anganwadi staff cannot be undermined. Several Central and State Governments are vigilant in this regard and have passed various Government Orders restraining District Magistrates and other officers from engaging anganwadi workers in any other work, it noted.

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