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Monday, September 27, 2021

HC notice to Delhi L-G over plea seeking operationalisation of Covid deaths panel

The HC issued the notice after the Delhi government said it was the L-G who stayed setting up of the panel.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 6, 2021 7:13:29 am
Delhi LG Anil Baijal (Express file photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

The Delhi High Court Thursday issued notice to the Lt-Governor in a petition seeking operationalisation of a high-powered committee to examine causes behind the deaths which took place during the Covid pandemic, after the Delhi government said it was the L-G who stayed setting up of the panel.

The division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh asked the Delhi government to respond to the petition filed by a woman, whose husband died of the virus in May at a private hospital. The plea argued that non-operationalisation of the panel was arbitrary and smacks of mala fide.

Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the government, told the court that a committee of medical experts was constituted in April to look into cases where there may be negligence and requirement of compensation to be awarded. “The government was open to it… as part of its own statutory duty and also as a benevolent state… to grant that compensation. It was stayed a few days later due to various reasons,” Mehra submitted.

Mehra told the court the L-G has taken a view that a matter related to the issue was pending before the Supreme Court. “It (SC order) nowhere talks about this particular issue of negligence,” he added.

While listing the case for hearing on August 23, the court also recorded a statement made by the Delhi government’s counsel that the State as a welfare state has taken a decision to provide ex-gratia relief of Rs 50,000 to the kin of those who died of Covid. The government said the amount will be released to the petitioner in case it has not been released already.

The petition argued before the court that there was no reasonable justification for stalling the functioning of the high-powered committee as issues like health or grant of ex-gratia monetary relief or other benefits to affected sections of society are matters that fall “within the exclusive domain of the Government of Delhi”.

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