New Delhi [India], September 21 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday gave a nod to the functioning of the High Power Committee (HPC) to look into the matter of providing compensation to people who died due to lack of oxygen during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hearing the case, a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said, "We see no difficulty in the High Power Committee (HPC) constituted by Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) in discharging its assigned role."
The court's remark came after the Delhi government took the stand that the committee would not fix any liability on the hospitals and the government would pay the amount of the compensation.
Lieutenant Governor of Delhi had earlier put the committee, constituted by the Delhi government in abeyance.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Riti Singh Verma, whose husband died on May 14, 2021, due to COVID-19 in a hospital in Delhi's Nehru Nagar.
The petitioner has sought direction from the Delhi government to operationalise the High-Power Committee it constituted and commence its functioning forthwith.
The petitioner told the Court that her husband died at the young age of 34, and he was the
only earning member of the family. She said that she has two small children to look after along with her parents.
"The untimely death of her husband due to COVID-19 has caused great financial hardship. That the deceased was working in a private company and his annual income was approx. 8 Lakh rupees," read the petition filed by advocates Yogesh Aggarwal and Kamal Jindal.
The petitioner said that her husband was admitted in a normal and not very severe condition and was a healthy 34-year-old with no other co-morbidities and died due to cardiac arrest as per the discharge summary.
"The discharge summary appears to be copy paste job on the part of the hospital as the deceased was a male and referred to as a lady. The manner in which the petitioner's husband case was handled casts doubt on the hospital dealing with the COVID-19 patients and also the death summary does not mention if the Oxygen was administered at any point in time when his condition started deteriorating," the plea said.
It said that the petitioner has come to know from the media that the Delhi government has announced a scheme for ex-gratia payment to the family members of the people who have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic and also formed a High-Power Committee to look into such cases and decide on the case-to-case basis and accordingly the compensation will be awarded.
"The petitioner case is a fit case to be referred to the HPC immediately and her case should be examined by it so that the compensation may be granted to her," the petition said.
It further added that the respondent is under a Constitutional obligation to create and operationalise the High Powered Committee "in as much as the same pertains to the fundamental right to life of the citizens and residents of India."
The petitioner said that the respondent has failed to operationalise the High Powered Committee without any reasons or justifications, i.e., arbitrarily, and thus it is a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
In her plea, the petitioner has urged to direct the respondent to refer the case of the petitioner to the High Powered Committee forthwith and to direct the respondent to grant compensation as per the High Powered Committee report forthwith. (ANI)