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Bombay HC rejects claim of Ayurvedic practitioner’s wife for insurance under PMGKY

A division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice R I Chagla passed a ruling on Surgade’s petition on Tuesday.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
March 9, 2021 10:38:03 pm
Bombay HC slams IO who shielded cop accused in woman’s deathOn March 19, the counsel for the police also submitted that the probe was handed over to the assistant commissioner of police and a chargesheet filed. (File photo)

Upholding the Centre’s claim that relatives of only those private healthcare providers, whose services were requisitioned for Covid-19 duty and died on duty can claim Rs 50 lakh insurance under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) insurance package for Covid warriors, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by Navi Mumbai resident Kiran Surgade, seeking a direction to New India Assurance Company Limited to immediately disburse her claim of Rs 50 lakh under the scheme.

A division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice R I Chagla passed a ruling on Surgade’s petition on Tuesday.

The woman, in her plea filed through advocate Ajit Karwande, said that her husband, late Bhaskar Surgade, an Ayurveda practitioner, during the early days of the lockdown on March 31 last year received a notice from Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) commissioner asking him to keep his dispensary open and warning that he will be prosecuted if he did not comply.

Surgade claimed that her husband had to open his clinic and treat patients, including those infected by Covid-19. He went on to contract the infection, leading to his death on June 10, 2020, the plea said.

Last August, she claimed compensation of Rs 50 lakh under PMGKY. However, the insurance company rejected her claim, stating that the doctor was carrying out private practice and not serving in any hospital recognized by NNMC or government healthcare centre and his private dispensary was not recognized as Covid-19 dispensary, thus, was not eligible under the scheme. Following this, the petitioner moved HC.

The central Government had told the HC that only those healthcare providers, requisitioned to fight Covid-19 under the age of 55 years, and died on duty, were covered under the PMGKY insurance package of Rs 50 lakh.

Additional Government Pleader Kavita N Solunke representing the state Health Department submitted that Surgade’s services were not requisitioned and therefore, the scheme would not apply to him.

Dismissing the plea, the bench observed, “Considering that Surgade’s services were not requisitioned as mandated under the scheme, we are unable to extend the applicability of the scheme to persons who fall outside the ambit thereof. Resultantly, no relief can be granted to the Petitioner.”

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