New Delhi, March 17 (ANI): The Election Commission has decided to grant a maximum compensation of Rs. 10,00,000 (a million rupees) to any poll officer in case of death on election duty caused by extremists or unsocial elements.
The Commission has recommended a minimum of Rs.500,000 as the amount to be paid to the next of kin of any official in case of death on duty.
"If the death is caused due to any violent acts of extremist or unsocial elements such as from road mine explosions, bomb blasts, armed attacks etc., the amount of compensation should be double, i.e. Rs 10 lakh," said an Election Commission official.
In case of permanent disability like loss of limb, eye sight, etc., a minimum ex-gratia payment of Rs 2.5 lakh would be made. However, if such disability is caused by extremist violence, Rs.500,000 would be given to the injured.
The Election Commission, while framing the guidelines, has clearly spelt out that the payment will cover any mishap that occurs during the entire period of election duty - from the time an official leaves residence to report for any poll related duty, including training, to the time he or she returns to residence after discharging poll-related responsibilities.
If any mishap takes place during this period, it should be treated as having occurred on election duty subject to condition that there should be a causal connection between occurrence of death/injury and the election duty.
In the past, the Commission has seen that even in cases of death of polling personnel on election duty, innumerable hurdles in releasing the compensation amount due to them are created by the insurance companies, the EC official said.
In many cases, members of the bereaved family have had to approach the courts seeking relief with regard to payment of the compensation that they genuinely deserved and which should have been released to them forthwith.
Litigation would mean that a good part of the amount that they are supposed to get is already spent on lawyers and court fees apart from the financial hardships that the families would anyway suffer due to the loss of their earning members.
"In any case, it seems the states will end up spending more money on insurance premium than compensation to the affected families," the official said.
There have been many cases in which the state governments entered into MoU with insurance companies for payment of compensation to poll personnel. But the companies had refused payment even in case of death due to heart attack during performance of poll duty, citing the reason that only death caused due to violent incidents were to be covered.
During the upcoming five-phased polls starting April 16, a whooping four million civilian officials besides 2.1 million security personnel for a smooth functioning of the polls. (ANI)