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Delhi govt relief covers select healthcare workers, HC questions approach

Advocate Gautam Narayan, representing the government, Tuesday apprised the court about the conditions in the policy.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: January 26, 2022 1:01:00 am
Delhi High Court (File)

Questioning the government decision to provide ex-gratia amount of Rs 1 crore to the next of kin of healthcare professionals who died of Covid while working at government or private hospitals requisitioned by the state to deal with cases, the Delhi High Court Tuesday said the government needs to reconsider its policy as the distinction – between such healthcare workers and those working at other hospitals – does not appear to be justified.

During the hearing of a petition filed by the wife of Dr Harish Kumar, who died of Covid while serving at New Life Hospital in GTB Nagar during the first wave in June 2020, the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh asked the government, “It is not that the hospital of the petitioner’s husband was not rendering service during Covid times. It was these small hospitals… the amount of load that they were taking together would far exceed the load even your government hospitals were undertaking or able to hand. Is it justifiable to draw the distinction?”

While the case pertains to the recovery of a loan and the proposed takeover of a mortgaged property, the court on January 7 had enquired from the Delhi government on the progress of the application made by the doctor’s wife seeking ex-gratia amount announced by the government last year.

Advocate Gautam Narayan, representing the government, Tuesday apprised the court about the conditions in the policy and said Kumar’s New Life Hospital was never requisitioned as a Covid hospital since it is a small nursing home and therefore the policy does not extend to the case of Kumar’s wife.

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In response to the court’s observations, Narayan submitted that the decision was taken considering the financial impact. However, he told the court that the state will look at it again.

 

The court in the order noted, “Only because some nursing homes may not have been requisitioned on account of their capacity does not take away from the fact that the doctors and paramedic staff working at such nursing homes were also exposing themselves to the risk of contracting Covid and suffering death on that account.”

While asking the government to place on record a copy of the cabinet decision on the policy, the court listed the matter for next hearing on March 11.

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