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Woman dies of Covid-19 in line of duty, but govt refuses to release compensation; Delhi HC wants action to be taken

The plea stated that the Court, vide its order dated November 23, 2020, noted that that the claim of the petitioner for release of ex-gratia payment is under consideration with the State and a decision shall be taken and communicated to the petitioner on or before December 31, 2020.

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The Delhi High Court has allowed a man, who had petitioned the court to declare his deceased wife – Rachel Varghese – a ‘Corona Martyr’ and had asked for the requisite compensation as declared by the government to be released, to proceed with appropriate action against the decision taken by the nodal authority.

His wife had lost her life, while working as a frontline worker as a supervisor at the blood bank of Medeor Hospital in Delhi.

He had originally filed a writ petition in December, 2020. At that time, the High Court had directed the Delhi government to expeditiously deal with his representation. However, the government took no steps, despite several communications. So he returned to the court.

Justice Asha Menon on Thursday asked the petitioner to take appropriate action against the decision taken by the nodal authority. The counsel for the petitioner submitted that even after one year of the passing away of the wife, no action has been taken by the concerned authorities in releasing the said amount.

The counsel appearing on behalf of the State submitted that the Department of Divisional Commissioner, the nodal authority dealing with ex-gratia payment, has duly considered the representation made by the petitioner, but the same was not acceded to by the Revenue Minister and the case of the deceased was found to be unfit for ex-gratia payment as Corona Martyr.

Rachel lost her life to Covid-19 on June 17, 2020 in the line of duty, working in the frontline as a supervisor manager at the blood bank of a Delhi hospital.

The plea stated that the Delhi Government, vide its order of July 27, 2020, declared “if any person including doctor, nurse, para medical staff, security/ sanitisation staff, or any other government officer/ official including police officer, whether temporary or permanent employee or Contractual in any Government or Private Sector deployed for Covid-19 duties by GNCTD, expires by contracting the deceased during discharge of his duties, his/her family shall be paid ex gratia of an amount of Rs one crore, posthumously.”

The plea contended that the petitioner made a representation to the Delhi Government to consider the petitioner’s wife as martyr under the Corona Warriors Martyrs Scheme, pursuant thereto, the petitioner filed a suit before the Delhi High Court for enforcing his right to a financial help as compensation in the nature of ex-gratia as his wife succumbed to the deadly Covid-19, while rendering medical services being Quality Manager at Blood Bank of a Delhi hospital, which was in periphery to the ICU, where Covid-19 patients were treated.

Read Also: Children remain Covid-19’s most vulnerable

The plea further stated that the Court, vide its order dated November 23, 2020 noted that that the claim of the petitioner for release of ex-gratia payment is under consideration with the State and a decision shall be taken and communicated to the petitioner on or before December 31, 2020.

“The order also grants liberty to the petitioner to file afresh in case the petitioner is aggrieved of the decision taken by the respondent no 2 on his claim,” stated the petitioner. The plea further averred that no affirmative action has been taken place as yet, even after repeated follow-ups. 

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