On Monday, the Allahabad High Court at Lucknow entertained a PIL seeking Compensation or Ex-Gratia Payment for those who have died due to COVID19 Pandemic.
Dr. Sandeep Pandey, a philanthropist filed a Public Interest Litigation through Advocate Rajat Rajan Singh, raising the issue of violation of fundamental rights of those who have been victim of COVID disaster.
The PIL states that in 2020, the Government of India vide its notification dated 14.03.2020 provided for Ex-Gratia Payment of Rupees 4 lakhs per deceased person including those involved in relief operations or associated in response activities.
However on the same, the said notification was modified and this relief of Ex-gratia payment was deleted, without assigning any reason for that.
Sri Rajat Rajan Singh, Counsel for Petitioner submitted that under Section 12 of Disaster Management Act 2005, there is statutory duty on the Government to grant Ex-Gratia assistance to every person who has lost his life due to the disaster. However till date there is no policy or national plan for COVID19 or any other plan laying down standards of relief to citizens affected by COVID19.
He further submitted that unavailability of beds in Hospitals and lack of oxygen supply, which is the major cause of death of COVID19 infected people is violation of Right to Life of people at large and therefore the state should come up with a scheme for compensating the families.
During the course of hearing Sri Singh, also informed the court that during the filing of the PIL and hearing of the case,a development has taken place, where the Supreme Court in the case of Suo Motu (Civil) No. 3 0f 2021, has suggested the Government to consider providing relief measures to victims of COVID19 under Section 12.
The State Government opposed the PIL and submitted that since the Hon’ble Supreme Court has already taken up this issue and another Suo Motu PIL is going on in the Allahabad High Court, therefore the PIL should be dismissed and Petitioner should approach either Supreme Court or the Allahabad High Court at Allahabad.
The Division bench of Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Manish Mathur rejecting the submissions of State Government, entertained the PIL and has listed the same after summer vacation, providing that any decision on this issue in the interregnum period shall be brought on record.
Title: Dr. Sandeep Pandey vs Union of India and Others.
Case No. 10341 (PIL) of 2021.
Date of Order: 10.05.2021
Coram: Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Manish Mathur
Counsel for the Petitioner: Rajat Rajan Singh