The Bombay High Court last week said there isn't any logic in a directive issued by the Maharashtra government mandating Aanganwadi workers to fill in data of citizens in a mobile application in English language. The HC said it wouldn't be possible for such workers as most of them aren't educated in English or know the language and thus compelling them to do so would be incorrect.
A bench of Justices Prasanna Varale and Shriram Modak was seized with a plea filed by Aanganwadi Karmachari Sanghatna, an association of such workers, challenging a communication issued by the state, earlier this month.
The judges noted that earlier the matter was heard by another bench, which too expressed displeasure over the condition imposed by the state.
Notably, as per the state decision, all Aanganwadi workers have to put up the details of rural citizens on the mobile app - Poshan Tracker, in English language. The state has also warned the workers of strict disciplinary action if they fail to put up the data in the mobile application.
Before Justice Varale's bench, the Union government through it's counsel Mayuresh Lagu submitted that it would bring out some "practical" solution to the issue.
"On one hand, the Union government fairly submitted that it would attempt to find out practical solution and, on the other hand, the state is insisting upon Anganwadi workers to fill in the application form in Poshan Tracker App by immediately effecting necessary entries," the bench noted.
"The communication, then, stated that failure to fill in the application or effect the necessary entries in the App would result in disciplinary action against these workers," the judges noted.
Further noting that failure to fill in the information would be treated as "personal failure" of the workers, the bench said, "On prima facie perusal of the documents, we are unable to
either find any logic or rationale in this communication insisting upon the
Anganwadi workers to fill the application in the App in English language."
The judges further highlighted the fact that even the state has admitted that these Anganwadi workers are not highly qualified and some of them are having primary or secondary education and are not well conversant in English language.
"Though, the scheme promotes for seeking assistance of the person who knows English language or some student who can assist Anganwadi workers, it will not be possible all time for these workers to search for persons who knows English language or is conversant in it, so as to complete the application in the App," the bench said.
"The object of such scheme is certainly to provide some job opportunities to weaker section in general and particularly women. The act of the state in issuing such circular is nothing but frustrating the object of the scheme," the bench held.
The judges accordingly, ordered the state authorities not to initiate any disciplinary action against any Aanganwadi worker till further hearing. It also asked the state and Union government to come up with some practical solution for the issue.
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