Specify benefits for frontline workers' kin: HC to Maharashtra govt

The Bombay High Court on Friday

directed the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit about the benefits extended to the kin of frontline health and administrative workers, who get infected or succumb to COVID- 19 in the line of duty.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Sarang Kotwal was hearing two public interest litigations seeking that police officers, doctors and nurses, who die of COVID-19 after contracting the infection on duty, be given the title of "martyrs" by the state.

The petitioner's lawyer Aparna Vhatkar told the court that the state must recognise the sacrifice made by such frontline workers and declare them as martyrs to pay them respect.

The court initially asked why it must intervene in such matters.

"The executive can take this decision. Why should judiciary do it? State or the Union can apply its mind," the bench noted, asking the Union government, also a party in the case, if any provision for granting such titles existed.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who appeared for the Union government, however, told the court that the Centre did not have any legal powers to grant such a title to civilians.

Other honours bestowed such as Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan were all awards and not mere titles, he said.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who appeared for the state, told the court that the Maharashtra government had already issued a resolution stating that the kin of doctors or policemen, who die of COVID-19, would be given Rs 50 lakh.

The Advocate General also informed the court that the state had also extended the benefit of the Centre's Pradhanmantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, an insurance scheme, to several frontline workers.

The state government had issued a resolution on April 11 stating that the said scheme would be extended to the state's frontline workers.

The court, however, noted that the said GR did not clarify the benefits that will be granted to doctors and nurses specifically and directed the state to file an affidavit clarifying the same by August 4.

(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.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel