New Delhi, May 10 (ILNS): A plea has landed before the Delhi High Court, seeking directions for compensation to the tune of Rs one crore each for the late Saket District Court Family Judge K Venugopal and Dwarka District Court Metropolitan Magistrate Kamran Khan, who passed away under duress due to COVID-19.
The plea, urging the Court to treat the two deceased senior judicial officers as frontline warriors, sought the Court’s directions to the Delhi government on the compensation to be given to the kith and kin of the deceased judicial members as an ex-gratia relief.
A bench led by the Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh has issued notice to the Delhi government, Secretary Department of Finance (GNCTD), Secretary Department of Home Affairs (GNCTD), Secretary, Department of Law, Justice & Legislative Affairs Govt. of NCT Delhi and the Delhi HC Through the office of Registrar General.
The petition has been filed by Advocate Tanveer Ahmed Mir in public interest, seeking necessary reliefs regarding the unfortunate demise of the judicial officers, court staff and registry officials of the subordinate judiciary of Delhi due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and such other consequential reliefs.
The petitioner submitted that he himself and his associate lawyers are deeply anguished at the fact that a number of judicial officers, court staff members and officials of the registry, along with their family members, are losing their lives due to the current pandemic, especially in its second wave post March, 2021.
The plea stated: “A considerable number of officers of the lower judiciary, court staff and registry officials at the moment are further undergoing a harrowing experience of not only being unable to meet the medical expenses of the treatment of their near and dear ones as well as family members, but also a number of officers and their immediate relatives most unfortunately have lost their lives as well.”
As the aforesaid judicial officers, court staff members, officials have undoubtedly laid down their lives in the line of duty, they are deserving of ex-gratia relief and assistance of the Respondent authorities and such other consequential reliefs as deemed appropriate,” it added.
“The respondent government authorities on one hand have resorted and paid an ex-gratia relief of Rs one crore to a police constable who died on account of infliction of COVID-19, thereby indicating a clear intent that if any of its employees, while discharging their duties at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 will be paid the aforesaid amount of Rs one crore to their kith and kin and their family members, yet most surprisingly no such step has been taken by the respondents in the present petition qua a number of judicial officers as well as court staff, who without any doubt, have also performed the supreme sacrifice of their lives of performing their duties without any fail as frontline warriors in the implementation of justice and to that extent have lost their lives in most unfortunate circumstances in the line of duty, yet the respondents have shown little empathy towards such officers and their kith and kin,” it added.
The petitioner stated that he is anguished that the respondents being the relevant government authorities have showed little empathy towards the aforesaid officers, court staff members, who undoubtedly have laid down their lives in the line of duty and to this extent have performed the supreme sacrifice.
The petitioner has sought the following directions;
(a) Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction, holding that Late Sh. K. Venugopal, Ld. Family Judge, Saket District Courts and Late Sh. Kamran Khan, MM, Dwarka District Courts, Delhi lost their unfortunate lives while performing their duties as frontline warriors in the line of duty.
(b) Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction, directing respondents No. 1 to 4 to immediately and forthwith pay an amount of Rs. 1 Crore each to the kith & kin of the deceased judicial members as an ex-gratia relief.
(c) Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction, directing the office of Registrar General, Hon’ble Delhi High Court (Respondent No. 5) to immediately collate and place on record the details of the members of other lower judiciary court staff, the court staff of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court who unfortunately may have lost their lives due to COVID-19 while performing their duties and in such cases, direct the respondents No. 1 to 4 to pay appropriate ex-gratia relief to their kith & kin not being less than Rs. 50 Lakhs per officer/employee/court staff and further direct the respondents to provide employment to the next of the deceased on compassionate grounds.
(d) Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction, directing the office of Registrar General, Hon’ble Delhi High Court (Respondent No. 5) to immediately collate and place on record the details of medical expenses that had been borne till date and would be borne in future by the members of lower judiciary, subordinate staff as well as the court staff of Delhi High Court and to place the same on record before this Hon’ble Court and issue appropriate directions to the respondents to ensure that all such medical expenses would be reimbursed irrespective of the fact whether the patients were hospitalized in empanelled hospitals or other private hospitals. ILNS\KR\SJ\RJ