The Karnataka government has issued a circular allowing disabled and visually impaired employees to work from home, a move which came months after the Karnataka High Court pulled up the State over a circular mandating the physical presence of all government employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice SS Magadum was informed of the circular dated February 5 during the hearing of a plea moved by Karnataka Federation of the Blind, challenging the State government circular dated May 18, 2020.
As per the older circular, all government employees belonging to Groups A, B, C and D were directed to physically appear for duty at 100% capacity.
During the hearing, Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that certain government employees with disability were unable to go for work on certain days. On those days, such employees were not paid and the same was treated as Loss of Pay (LoP).
On this aspect, the Court, in its order noted that no cases have been placed on record. Even if such a question arises, the State is expected to take the most appropriate decision in line with the circular dated April 28, 2020 issued by the Government of India, the Court stated while disposing of the plea.
On April 28, the Central government had issued a memorandum stating that the exempted period of absence from work for disabled employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic may be treated as “Special Leave without loss of pay”.
Last month, the Court had castigated the State government for issuing a circular mandating that 50 per cent of differently abled government employees should report for work on alternate days.