HC notice to Rajasthan Govt on PIL seeking Rs 50 lakh ex gratia for private doctors who die due to COVID
Jaipur: The Jaipur bench of Rajasthan High Court has issued a notice to the State Government on a plea asking why private doctors have been kept out of the ambit of the benefit of ex gratia payment of Rs 50 lakh to the families or dependents of those who die due to Covid-19.
The petition was moved by the wife of a private homoeopathic practitioner who had died of Covid-19. The plea sought a direction to the state government to extend the benefit of order April 11, 2020 (Pension 05/2020) to the family and dependent of 'private doctors' practices in all fields, whether belonging to an allopathic, homoeopathic or ayurvedic system of medicine who died of Covid, for ex-gratia payment /compensation of Rs 50 lakh.
As per the PIL, the State had issued guidelines directing that hospitals, dispensaries, clinics, nursing homes, both in the public and private sector to remain functional amidst the pandemic and lockdown. In compliance with the direction, the homoeopathy doctor kept his clinic functional throughout lockdown and even during the period of extended lockdown and served his patients. However, he contracted the infection while running his clinic and died on August 6, 2020, at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Sitapura, Jaipur.
Their families are not entitled even for a single rupee, if he or she is running a private clinic or dispensary and die of Covid-19, while attending and treating patients suffering from myriad diseases, including corona infection. Thus, private doctors are necessarily required to be extended the benefit of the order dated 11.4.2020 (Pension 05/2020) entitling their families or dependents to receive Rs 50 Lac ex-gratia payment/compensation in the event of their death due to Covid-19.
"Doctors, irrespective of the fact whether they work in the public sector or private sector or they run private clinics or dispensaries are prone to infections, therefore their families are required to be protected."
"While the government is permitting ex-gratia compensation to the families of 'Ration Dealers' and 'Accredited Journalists', not granting the same to the families of 'private doctors' dying of Covid-19 is absolutely unreasonable, grossly irrational and per see discriminatory making it violative of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India."
" Health care facilities imparted by the state, though huge, is unable to cater each and every citizen, which is palpable from burgeoning fatalities due to Covid-19. In such circumstances, private medical practitioners are accessible to citizens, which makes former vulnerable to infection. In such circumstances, families of private doctors cannot be denuded of the benefit of ex-gratia payment or compensation in event of death of private practitioner due to Covid-19 more so when even 'ration dealers' and 'accredited journalists,' who have no nexus with the treatment of patients, have been brought in the purview of the order dated 11.4.2020."
" Private Doctors too are toiling day and night during this pandemic and are playing a quintessential role in keeping up the health of the society. In these difficult times, private doctors are catering to the other mundane health problems which are also necessary to be cured apart from Covid-19.Therefore, the State is under obligation to extend the protective umbrella of the order dated 11.4.2020 to private doctors, more so when they have chosen to protect even 'ration dealers' and 'accredited journalists', who are in no way remotely connected to the treatment of patients."
Deliberating the PIL, Single Bench of Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma issued a notice to the State and has fixed the case for hearing on July 7.
To read the petition and order click on the links below-