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'Don't Stick To Technicalities': Madras High Court Directs State To Not Insist On RTPCR Report While Deciding Compensation Claims If CT-Scan Test Confirmed Covid-19

Akshita Saxena
16 Jun 2021 12:20 PM GMT
Dont Stick To Technicalities: Madras High Court Directs State To Not Insist On RTPCR Report While Deciding Compensation Claims If CT-Scan Test Confirmed Covid-19
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The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered the Health authorities of Tamil Nadu Government to process the claim for compensation of the Petitioner, widow of a private medical practitioner who contracted Covid-19 infection on duty and succumbed to it, without insisting for his RT-PCR report. A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh deprecated the practice of "sticking to...

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The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered the Health authorities of Tamil Nadu Government to process the claim for compensation of the Petitioner, widow of a private medical practitioner who contracted Covid-19 infection on duty and succumbed to it, without insisting for his RT-PCR report.

A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh deprecated the practice of "sticking to technicalities" and held that the authorities need not insist on production of RT-PCR report for processing the claim when a more "clinching" evidence, i.e., CT-Scan report is produced.

"If not for the selfless services rendered by the Doctors, a major population of this country would have been wiped out due to the deadly COVID-19. Therefore, the least that should be done for a Doctor, who has lost his life due to COVID-19, which had spread to him while he was on duty, is to acknowledge the selfless service of the Doctor and provide with the necessary compensation to his family," the Judge observed.

The Petitioner had made a claim under the PM Garib Package Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19 which provides a coverage of Rs. 50,00,000/- for both Public Health-care Providers as well as the Doctors and staffs belonging to Private Hospitals, if they die due to COVID-19.

She submitted that her husband, who was also treating COVID-19 patients, started feeling the symptoms and was immediately rushed to a Private Hospital where 'CT Chest COVID Screening Test' was performed and it was deduced that he was afflicted with COVID-19.

On his demise subsequently, the Petitioner moved an application before the concerned Authorities seeking for the insurance coverage provided by the above said Scheme. The same was declined by the Joint Director of Health Services in the absence of RT-PCR Test result of her deceased husband.

It was the Petitioner's case that she had submitted all the relevant documents to the department but, she was not in possession of RT-PCR report since her husband was directly subjected to 'CT-Chest COVID Screening Test' by the private hospital.

In these circumstances, Justice Venkatesh observed,

"It is very clear from the 'CT-Chest COVID Screening Test' that the husband of the petitioner was afflicted with COVID-19. When such a clinching document is available, there is no requirement for insisting for the RTPCR Test result. In cases of this nature, the Authorities must not stick to technicalities and the claim must be considered with more humanness with the available documents which clearly substantiates the fact that the husband of the petitioner was suffering from COVID-19."

The Bench therefore directed to the Joint Director of Health Services to process the claim made by the Petitioner without insisting for the RT-PCR Test result and ordered that if otherwise requirements are satisfied, the authority shall process her claim form and forward the same to the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Tamil Nadu within two weeks.

The State, on receipt of the records, is directed to forward the same to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare within a period of four weeks thereafter, for final consideration within four weeks thereafter.

Case Title: B. Varalakshmi v. Union of India & Ors.

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