15 Dec 2022 12:52 PM GMT
While hearing a plea moved by the wife of a constable who was the first policeman to die on duty during the first wave of COVID-19, the High Court has said that the Delhi Government "ought not to resile from the clear announcement made" for ex-gratia payment of Rs. 1 crore and that the compensation due to the widow can no longer be delayed.The petitioner was was expecting her child at the...
While hearing a plea moved by the wife of a constable who was the first policeman to die on duty during the first wave of COVID-19, the High Court has said that the Delhi Government "ought not to resile from the clear announcement made" for ex-gratia payment of Rs. 1 crore and that the compensation due to the widow can no longer be delayed.
The petitioner was was expecting her child at the time when her husband, Amit Kumar, passed away while he was posted at city's Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital to ensure adherence to COVID-19 lockdown measures.
Justice Prathiba M Singh has asked the matter to be placed before a "Group of Ministers" as per Delhi Government's cabinet decision dated March 13, 2020.
As per the said decision, it was approved that any person including the in Government or private sector, deployed for COVID-19 duties by Delhi Government, who expires by contracting the disease during discharge of the duty, such person's family shall be paid an ex gratia amount of Rs. 1 crores.
Advocate Santosh Tripathi appearing for the Delhi Government submitted that as per the cabinet decision, a decision can be taken by the Minister of Health through the Minister of Revenue with the approval of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The court said that the matter requires "an empathetic consideration" while adding that there is no doubt about the fact that the petitioner's husband had died during COVID-19 duty, which is also confirmed by the office of the concerned DCP.
Justice Singh also noted that there was a "clear communication and messaging in the public domain" via social media, showing that ex gratia amount of crore was announced for the deceased.
"The Respondents ought not to resile from the clear announcement made for ex-gratia payment. In view of the aforementioned facts and circumstances, the compensation due to the Petitioner can no longer be delayed," the court observed.
As Tripathi prayed that the matter be sent for consideration to the Group of Ministers, Justice Singh ordered:
"The decision taken shall be placed on record by 15th January, 2023. List this matter before Court on 2nd February, 2023."
The Delhi government, in May 2020, had announced Rs 1 crore ex-gratia to the kin of the constable. In one of his tweets, Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had condoled the death of Kumar and had said his family will be provided with an ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore.
Title: Pooja vs State Of Gnct Of Delhi & Ors
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 1180
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