The Bombay High Court on Monday observed that the state government was bound to compensate the families of Covid-19 patients who died due to alleged culpable negligence of the government and civic hospitals.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice N J Jamadar made the suggestion while hearing a PIL by BJP MLA Ashish Shelar over disposal of bodies of Covid-19 victims, with reference to an incident at Sion hospital in which bodies were lying on beds or on the ground, in close proximity to patients being treated for Covid-19. In the PIL, he pointed out 11 incidents of negligence by hospitals.
Expressing serious concern, the HC widened the scope of the PIL and asked the BMC to respond to the inquiry into the incident and asked state authorities to give details of how bodies of Covid-19 victims are disposed of.
Referring to alleged instances of negligence as cited in the PIL, the bench said, “We thought at least for these instances in which people have died due to negligence, some mechanism be devised by the state. It is the state’s responsibility. We are just awakening it.”
It added in the order, “If the instances referred to by the petitioner are true and the state accepts the allegations of the petitioner that there has been culpable negligence, the unfortunate victim’s family members should be entitled to compensation.”
The court also asked the state government to file a detailed additional affidavit dealing with each of the remaining 10 incidents cited by the petitioner and elaborate the steps taken and clarify its stand on the issue of compensation for families affected in these instances. The HC posted the hearing on the PIL to November 23.
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