Thiruvananthapuram: The government has retracted its controversial circular which tightened conditions for availing special disability leave by government employees, granted when they meet with accidents and suffer injuries in the course of duty.
The fresh interpretation, as per the circular issued on July 30, was such that even travel to office and back would not be considered part of official duty of an employee. The special disability leave is granted under rule 98 of Kerala service rules. “This leave will not be admissible if the injury is not associated with the nature of work attached to the post held, even if the accident occurs during office hours or on office premises. It is further clarified that this leave will not be admissible if the accident occurs during journeys from residence to office and back,” said the circular.
As per the rule book, “The special disability leave under Kerala service rules is admissible to an officer who is disabled by injury accidentally occurred during or in consequence of the due performance of his official duties or in consequence of his official position, or by illness occurred in the performance of any duty which has the effect of increasing his liability to illness or injury beyond the ordinary risk attaching to the civil post which he holds.” Eligible employees are allowed to avail the leave up to four months.
The government decided to relook into the conditions for granting leave as several instances came to its notice as employees claimed the special disability leave even when the injury was not directly associated with the nature of work attached to the post. “The supervisory officers in turn, without approaching the case in a judicious manner or without assessing the genuineness of the claim, certify the same for sanctioning the leave,” said the circular.
However, the matter faced stiff opposition from employees. Employee organisations, irrespective of pro-ruling front or the opposition, took a strong stand against the government’s new interpretation. “We had given a representation against the new decision. There may be instances when a few might have misused the privilege. But it should not be generalized. Let the matter be subjected to detailed scrutiny before sanctioning the leave,” said Kerala secretariat employees’ association (KSEA) general secretary K N Ashok Kumar. Following stiff opposition, the government issued another circular last Tuesday, cancelling the circular issued on July 30.