Observing that the Maharashtra government is duty-bound to take care of citizens, the Bombay high court on Monday said if a person infected with Covid-19 had died due to hospital negligence, then their relatives would be entitled to compensation. A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Nizamoodin Jamadar also ordered the state to consider the suggestions, if any, given by BJP leader Ashish Shelar regarding the scientific disposal of bodies of Covid patients who had succumbed.
Shelar had petitioned the bench claiming that the civic authorities had not been following protocol in disposing the bodies of Covid-deceased.
On Monday, when the matter came up for hearing, the bench was apprised of the fact that the Supreme Court was already seized with a similar issue. On hearing this, the judges said they would wait for the top court to issue directives in the matter.
During the course of the hearing, the counsel appearing for Shelar highlighted 11 cases of Covid deaths, which had occurred due to the alleged negligence of the hospital.
Taking note, CJ Datta, while ordering the state to file an affidavit clarifying its stand on these specific cases said, "If Shelar's contention is true, it would suggest culpable negligence on the part of the ones running the hospitals. In such a scenario, we are of the view that the unfortunate families of these victims would be entitled to compensation."
The bench further said that even if a hospital is looked after by a municipal corporation, the state has the "overriding" powers to seek information from the said hospital, regarding any kind of negligence.
"Just like in cases of accidents, the family of the deceased is compensated, we think, similarly in these Covid deaths due to negligence, the families must get some compensation," CJ Datta remarked, while adjourning the matter for further hearing till November 23.
The judges, meanwhile, ordered the state to implement the slew of guidelines issued by the Calcutta high court for disposing of the bodies of Covid-deceased, apart from the ones issued by the Union government.