Oxygen crisis: High court asks Centre, Delhi to treat PIL as representation to compensate kin of deceased

The Delhi high court on Monday asked the Centre and the AAP government to treat as a representation a plea seeking framing of guidelines for providing compensation to the families of patients who died due to oxygen shortage during the Covid-19 pandemic and those who succumbed to the viral disease.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said grant of compensation is a policy decision and courts cannot interfere with that.

It directed the Centre and the Delhi government to treat the plea, filed by lawyer Purav Middha, as a representation and take a decision in accordance with the law, rules, regulations and government policy applicable to the facts of the case.

The bench said that a practicable decision should be taken as early as possible and disposed of the plea.

In his plea, Middha had suggested that the compensation should be paid from the National Disaster Response Fund or the PM CARES Fund to provide relief to those families who have no means to sustain themselves as most of them have lost their sole breadwinner to Covid-19.

He had also said that since the number of Covid-19 victims is increasing at an alarming rate, the governments ought to formulate a compensation scheme to aid the survival of such families.

He claimed that if people die during the pandemic due to a lack of oxygen and medicines, the governments are to be held accountable as the public health system is unable to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic.