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Creating distinction b/w docs, paramedics for ex-gratia not justified: HC

Creating any distinction for grant of ex-gratia between them and other medical practitioners working in hospitals requisitioned by the government is not justified, said the Delhi High Court

States in preparation mode for possible third wave of Covid-19 pandemic

Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Delhi High Court Tuesday said the doctors and paramedic staff of small nursing homes have also provided treatment against COVID-19 to thousands of patients here during the first and second waves of the pandemic and creating any distinction for grant of ex-gratia between them and other medical practitioners working in hospitals requisitioned by the government is not justified.
The high court said that only because some nursing homes may not have been requisitioned on account of their capacity, does not take away the fact that the doctors and paramedic staff working at such nursing homes were also exposing themselves to the risk of contracting COVID and suffering death on that account.
It is a well-known fact that at the peak of pandemic during first and second waves, the small nursing homes were also providing treatment against COVID to thousands of residents of Delhi and if their numbers are put together, they may well exceed the number of beds available in government hospitals and hospitals which were requisitioned by the government for treatment of COVID, a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said.
The high court was dealing with a matter relating to the death of a doctor in June 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic. Doctor Harish Kumar was serving at the New Life Hospital in GTB Nagar and was on COVID duty, the plea filed by her wife has said.
On being asked by the court as to whether the petitioner wife has applied for and received the ex-gratia amount promised by the Delhi government to all frontline workers/doctors who died of COVID while in service, the woman said though an application for the same was made, the ex-gratia amount has not been received.
Delhi government counsel Gautam Narayan submitted that presently the status is that the cabinet decision taken by the Delhi government provides for the grant of ex-gratia relief in such cases only in respect of doctors and other paramedic staff serving in either government hospitals or in other hospitals which were requisitioned by the State for treatment of COVID patients.
He said the late husband of the petitioner was serving in a nursing home with less than 50 beds which were not requisitioned by the Delhi government.
Though the petitioner's husband died of COVID in the line of duty while serving COVID patients in the first wave, this case is presently not covered by the cabinet decision, he added.
The court, however, said prima facie it appears to us, that the distinction sought to be drawn by the Delhi government may not be justified. This is because doctors and other paramedic staff serving in even private hospitals which were requisitioned by the Delhi government are covered by the cabinet decision.
"Only because some nursing homes may not have been requisitioned on account of their capacity, does not take away the fact that the doctors and paramedic staff working at such nursing homes were also exposing themselves to the risk of contracting COVID and suffering death on that account.
The Delhi government counsel said that he will file an affidavit not only placing on record the cabinet decision but also the reconsideration of the case of the petitioner's husband for grant of ex-gratia.
The court said the affidavit shall be filed within four weeks and listed the matter on March 11.
The main petition relates to proceedings pending before the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in which the receiver was to take physical possession of the mortgaged property of the woman and the high court on the last date of hearing had stayed her dispossession.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jan 25 2022 | 7:53 PM IST

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