The Bombay High Court has directed the State government to give benefits to the family of a head constable who lost his life while on duty.
Ganesh Chavan was a head constable with State Reserve Police Force posted in the Maoist hit Gadchiroli district when he and his three colleagues were asked to help pull out a bus stuck in the mud.
The four colleagues went to the spot and were successful in the rescue operation, but soon the river overflowed, and all four personnel were swept away.
As per the government resolution dated 28.11.2008, SRPF gave a salary to Chavan’s family; however, soon after, the salary was discontinued.
Aggrieved, Chavan’s family approached the Bombay High Court seeking the continuation of the salary and other compensatory benefits.
Before the Court, the petitioner submitted that Chavan was the sole breadwinner, and after his death, the family survived on the salary for ten years. The Court was also informed that the family has still not received compensatory benefits.
In its affidavit, the State said that DGP, Maharashtra, had written a letter on 12th May 2010 stating that compensation should be sanctioned to Chavan’s family. The State also sought details regarding the help given to the four personnel, the status of compassionate appointment and FIR status.
It was further submitted that the Magistrate found that the truck driver was driving in a rash and negligent manner, due to which the truck was swept away, and he has been convicted for the offence.
In light of the conviction, the State rejected the DGP’s proposal and therefore, salary to Chava’s family was discontinued.
After hearing the contentions, the Bench opined that the driver’s conviction had nothing to do with salary payment or compensatory benefits. The only issue was that Chavan and his colleagues had passed away during an anti-Maoist rescue operation; therefore, his family was entitled to compensation.
The Bench proceeded to set aside the impugned order and directed the State to provide benefits to Chavan’s family within two months.