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Compensation To The Kin Of Doctor Died Due To Covid-19, Madras High Court Directs The Authorities To “Not Stick To Technicalities” [READ ORDER]

The court ordered compensation to the kin of the doctor who died due to COVID-19. It was further observed by the court that if doctors were not providing selfless service, a major population of this country would have been wiped out by this deadly virus

By: Saumya Sakshi, B.A., LL. B (H), Amity Law School, Noida, UP

The petition is filed by B. Varalakshmi, wife of deceased doctor Dr. Baskar. The doctor died due to a Covid-19 infection on August 3, 2020. The petitioner approached the authorities for compensation, but the same was not released due to the non-production of the RT-PCR test report of the deceased doctor. As her husband was directly subjected to CT- Chest COVID-19 screening, she didn’t have an RT-PCR test result. The RT-PCR document is one of the documents needed by the authorities. Aggrieved by such demands, she filed a petition in the high court.

The petitioner moved her claim under the PM Garib Package Insurance Scheme for Health Workers who are fighting COVID-19 and provides a coverage of Rs. 50,00,000/- for both public and private health care providers if they succumb to Covid-19 disease.

She further submitted that her husband got infected while treating COVID-19 patients, and when rushed to a private hospital where CT Chest COVID-19 Screening was performed, it was confirmed that he was also infected with this deadly virus.

The petitioner claimed that she submitted all the documents which were required, only the RT-PCR report is not there as her husband was directly subjected to the CT-Chest COVID-19 Screening Test by the private hospital.

The matter came before a single bench Justice, N. Anand Venkatesh. The court observed that currently, the whole world is fighting this pandemic. It is the doctors, who in spite of knowledge of the risk involved while treating the infected patients, are selflessly and tirelessly working to save the lives of millions of people.

Thus, deprecating the practice of “sticking to technicalities” and the court held that the authorities need not insist on the production of RT-PCR report for processing the claim when a more “clinching” evidence, CT-Scan report is produced.

The court further observed that, “If not for the selfless services rendered by the Doctors, a major population of this country would have been wiped out due to the deadly COVID-19. Therefore, the least that should be done for a doctor, who has lost his life due to COVID-19, which had spread to him while he was on duty, is to acknowledge the selfless service of the Doctor and provide the necessary compensation to his family.”

The court while taking note of the circumstances of the case held that “It is very clear from the ‘CT-Chest COVID-19 Screening Test’ that the husband of the petitioner was afflicted with COVID-19. When such a clinching document is available, there is no requirement for insisting on the RT PCR Test result. In cases of this nature, the Authorities must not stick to technicalities and the claim must be considered with more humanness with the available documents which clearly substantiates the fact that the husband of the petitioner was suffering from COVID-19.”

The justice further directed the Joint Director of the Health Service to proceed with the claim made by the petitioner without any further demand of RT-PCR report and ordered that if all other formalities are satisfied, the said authority shall forward the same claim to the Department of Health and Family Welfare Tamil Nadu within 2 weeks. The state also, on the receipt of the record, is directed to pass the same to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare within 4 weeks thereafter.

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