The Delhi High Court has sought the response of the city government and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) on a plea by the wife of a COVID-19 warrior, who was employed with the civic body and died after contracting the disease while performing duties during the pandemic, seeking release of an ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore.
Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notice to the Delhi government and MCD on the petition and asked the authorities to file their replies. The court listed the matter for further hearing on January 12, 2024.
The Delhi government had announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore for the families of every frontline Covid warrior who died in the line of duty.
Petitioner Kunta Devi submitted that her husband Ramesh was a permanent employee of the then East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC). He was a field worker in the Public Health Department when the tragedy befell.
Due to the surge in the pandemic, the man was deputed as a sanitation worker for anti-larval measures and he died of the coronavirus in October 2020 at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital here, leaving behind his wife and children, the plea, filed through advocates Ravi Kant and Ram Kishan, said.
The petition said in accordance with an office order, EDMC announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the petitioner, being the legal heir of the deceased, and the amount has been received.
The Delhi government had also announced that in case of any staff deployed by it for COVID-19 duties dying after contracting the disease during discharge of his or her duty, their families shall be paid an ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore. The petitioner said she is yet to receive the amount.
The plea said, “The respondent no.1 (Delhi government) is liable to grant the ex-gratia amount which the Government of NCT of Delhi promised to the frontline worker because the deceased is covered under the definition of ex-gratia as he was a permanent employee of EDMC and was infected during the course his employment and the MCD has already granted a sum of Rs 10 lakh compensation to the petitioner.”
It sought a direction to the Delhi government to release the money.