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Compensation To Covid-19 Victims: Plea In Allahabad High Court Seeks Directions For Formulation Of Scheme Under Disaster Management Act

Akshita Saxena
11 May 2021 7:18 AM GMT
Compensation To Covid-19 Victims: Plea In Allahabad High Court Seeks Directions For Formulation Of Scheme Under Disaster Management Act
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A PIL has been filed before the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, seeking directions to the Central and the State Government for implementation of a scheme under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 for payment of ex gratia compensation to the families of persons who have lost their lives due to COVID-19 pandemic. The plea also seeks refund of cost of hospitalization from...

A PIL has been filed before the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, seeking directions to the Central and the State Government for implementation of a scheme under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 for payment of ex gratia compensation to the families of persons who have lost their lives due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The plea also seeks refund of cost of hospitalization from the State Relief Fund.

The petition has been filed by one Dr. Sandeep Pandey, claiming to be a social worker, through Advocate Rajat Rajan Singh. He has pointed out that Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act mandates payment of Ex-Gratia amount to the person affected by the Disaster.

"In the second wave of COVID19 pandemic there is complete failure of health care system…people are dying because they are unable to get on the medical care they deserve as Citizen of this country, and for this the Government is absolutely liable. Therefore, as a compensatory measure and some relief to the family of victims, the State Government should frame a scheme for payment of Ex-Gratia amount to the family of deceased person who lost his life to COVID 19," the plea states.

The Petitioner has also pointed out that even after lapse of one year since declaration of Covid-19 as a Disaster in March 2020, the National Policy of Disaster Management has neither been reviewed nor amended to include effective steps to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is alleged that the present National Policy is an incomplete framework so far as the pandemic is concerned.

"Non review/ updation of State Disaster Management Plan is the reason of present crisis. Despite knowing about the virus, the Government did not created any infrastructure dedicated for COVID-19, so that if second wave comes the Government would be ready and people will atleast gets beds to get admitted," the plea states.

Such action/ inaction of the Government, it is submitted, is complete violation of Right to Life and Right to Health guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Reliance is placed on the case of Nilabati Behera alias Lalita Behera v. State of Orissa, (1993) 2 SC 746, where the Supreme Court held that a claim in public law for compensation for contravention of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the protection of which is guaranteed in the Constitution, is an acknowledged remedy for enforcement and protection of such rights.

The Petitioner has also invoked the doctrine of Parents Patriae to submit that the Government acts like a Parent for its citizens and therefore all measures for repatriation, rehabilitation and welfare of the Citizens should be taken by the Government.

The matter was heard by a Division Bench comprising of Justices Ritu Raj Awasthi and Manish Mathur on Monday.

The Bench noted that the Supreme Court has already, in a suo motu matter pertaining to Covid management has suggested the Central Government to consider payment of compensation etc. to the victims.

Further, the Principal Bench of the Allahabad High Court is also seized with a PIL which addressed all Covid-related concerns.

The Division Bench therefore adjourned the case till July. It added that in the meantime, in case any decision in this regard is taken by the Apex Court or by this Court at Allahabad, that may be brought on record.

Also Read: 30 Yrs-Old Succumbs To Covid Due To Lack Of Oxygen: High Court Issues Notice To Delhi Govt On Plea For Compensation

Case Title: Dr. Sandeep Pandey v. Union of India & Ors.

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