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HC raps Maharashtra govt for denying compensation over nurse’s Covid death, calls it ‘insensitive’

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MUMBAI, April 17: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday rebuked the Maharashtra government for its “insensitive” approach in refusing Rs 50 lakh compensation to the husband of a nurse who lost her life to Covid-19 while treating patients during the pandemic.

A division bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwalla said the government’s order rejecting compensation was passed without any application of mind.

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“How can you be so insensitive? The deceased was a nurse actively treating patients suffering from Covid-19. How can such a case be rejected? These matters need to be handled with more care,” Justice Kulkarni said.

The court noted that the deceased must have worked long hours at the hospital “with no time to even have a cup of tea”.

The court was hearing a petition filed by one Sudhakar Pawar challenging the November 2023 order passed by the government rejecting his application seeking compensation.

His wife Anita Rathod Pawar was working as an assistant nurse at the Sassoon General Hospital in Pune.

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During the pandemic, she was a part of the COVID-19 warriors team that treated coronavirus-infected patients at the hospital, the petition said.

In April 2020, during the peak of the pandemic, she too contracted the disease and lost her life, it added.

The state government in May 2020 had introduced a comprehensive personal accident cover of Rs 50 lakh for its employees on active duty relating to survey, tracing, tracking, testing, prevention, and treatment and relief activities.

The petitioner in his plea said his application seeking the compensation amount was rejected on the ground that his wife’s health was poor even before she got Covid-19.

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The petitioner relied on a medical report submitted by the dean of the Sassoon hospital that said that Anita’s health was proper before she got infected with the coronavirus.

The bench after perusing the report noted that prima facie the petitioner was entitled to the compensation amount.

“Prima facie the order passed by the government rejecting compensation is patently without application of mind. It appears that petitioner was entitled to the benefits,” the court said.

The bench directed the government to file its affidavit stating why the order rejecting compensation to the petitioner should not be quashed.

The court will hear the plea further after two weeks. (PTI)




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