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Covid Deaths Due To Oxygen Shortage: High Court Nod To Delhi Govt's High Powered Committee For Compensation

Nupur Thapliyal
21 Sep 2021 1:15 PM GMT
Covid Deaths Due To Oxygen Shortage: High Court Nod To Delhi Govts High Powered Committee For Compensation
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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday approved the functioning of High Powered Committee formed by the Delhi Government for probing into deaths due to oxygen shortage amid Covid-19 pandemic.While giving it's nod to the Committee, Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said that it finds no difficulty in the functioning of the HPC in discharging the roles assigned to it. However, the...

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday approved the functioning of High Powered Committee formed by the Delhi Government for probing into deaths due to oxygen shortage amid Covid-19 pandemic.

While giving it's nod to the Committee, Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said that it finds no difficulty in the functioning of the HPC in discharging the roles assigned to it. 

However, the Court took note of the submissions made by the Delhi Government that the High Powered Committee will not be attributing fault to any hospital in the whole exercise and the entire compensation will be paid by the Government alone.

"We do not think it is necessary for us to await the order of the Supreme Court with regards to the grant of ex-gratia compensation to be paid to a victim as decided by National Disaster Management Authority," the Bench added.

During the course of hearing, Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra appearing for the Delhi Government submitted that the HPC is only a fact finding Committee and that it will be calculating an amount of compensation upto Rs. 5 lakh based on an objective criteria.

On the other hand, ASG Sanjay Jain appearing on behalf of Delhi LG requested the Court to wait for the guidelines on the issue of a uniform ex-gratia compensation amount by the NDMA as per Supreme Court's order.

The Court was dealing with a plea moved by a woman whose 34 year old husband died during the second Covid wave. It was her case that her husband was not suffering from any co-morbidities and that the discharge summary did not explain the cause of his death.

Earlier, the Delhi Government had informed the Court that there is no reasonable and lawful justification for the Lieutenant Governor to object to the constitution of High Powered Committee.

The said High Powered Committee was constituted by the Delhi Government in the aftermath of second covid wave consisting of medical experts, tasked with the mandate to carry out a fact-finding exercise, on a case-to-case basis for ascertaining the probable cause of death after studying the records of the case produced by the hospital concerned.

The Delhi Government also informed that the said policy decision was taken keeping in mind the indisputable fact that it was neither feasible nor possible to expect a constitutional court, High Court or the Supreme Court, to embark on an exercise requiring adjudication of questions of fact in the first instance in exercise of the power of judicial review.

Case Title: Riti Singh Verma v. State of NCT of Delhi & Ors.

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