Here's why this former Army Chief General calls this move by the K'taka government 'heartless'

The headmistress of a government school was asked by the state government to return the salary she drew while on leave to take care of her ailing son
Picture for representational purposes only | (Pic: Express)
Picture for representational purposes only | (Pic: Express)

An ailing National Defence Academy (NDA) cadet's mother, who works as a headmistress in a government high school in Bengaluru, Karnataka, has been asked by the state government to remit the salary she availed during the time of leave she took to care for her son. With this issue being brought up by some well-wishers on social media, the government's action is being severely criticised, reported TNIE.

Kishan Kulkarni, the only son of Bharati Joshi, was under training at the National Defence Academy (NDA), Pune, in July 2020, when he fell sick. Initially, his mother, Bharati Joshi, was not allowed to accompany him as COVID-19 was at its peak. Eventually, when she was allowed to meet Kishan in December 2020, she took leave from her duty till April 2022.

Though the headmistress availed the leave through proper channels by apprising her higher-ups in the Education Department regarding her son's health condition, now questions are being raised over the leave sanctioned as well as the salary drawn by her during that period. As per a letter sent by the office of the Accountant General, she took 40 days of commuted leave and 90 days of earned leave between December 12, 2020, and April 13, 2021.

However, 360 days availed by her as Child Care Leave, from April 13, 2021, to April 7, 2022, is under scanner as the AG's office has questioned the authority under which such leave was sanctioned and also sought information on details of recovery and remittance of the excess amount drawn in between January 1, 2021, and April 7, 2022. This move of the office has been condemned strongly by defence personnel and the general public at large.

In his tweet tagging the Prime Minister, Defence Minister and Karnataka Chief Minister, former Army Chief General VP Malik said, "This is heartless indeed. Hope we can do something for the family. Her son returned from the NDA after a very serious injury during training."

Meanwhile, Bharati Joshi is caught between her job and her ailing son. She cannot neglect both as she needs financial support to take care of Kishan, since she is the only earning member in the family. She is struggling to get the necessary documentation from the Medical Board, through the defence academy to be submitted to the government and is troubled by the letters issued by the AG's office seeking clarification on her leave and salary drawn.

"Though the officials helped me a lot when I was in shock due to the bad health condition of my son, letters from AG's office have me worried to no end. I am ready to pay the increment amount drawn during the leave, but it will be hard for me to remit the entire salary drawn during this period as I have already spent around Rs 12 lakh on Kishan's treatment and on my stay in Pune for over a year," she told TNIE.

Treated till May 2022 at Pune Command Hospital, Kishan was sent back home in ailing condition and Bharati needed more leave to take care of him. So she requested another 360 days of leave, for which she is eligible, and a posting at Hubballi or other cities as she has served for 28 years in rural areas only.

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