Will PMGKP benefit private medical practitioners: Bombay HC
Yossi Aloni

Mumbai: Would a private practitioner, who dies of Covid-19 in the line of his duty, be given the benefit of Rs 50 lakh insurance under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) announced by the Union government for medical workers? questioned the Bombay High Court recently.

A bench of Justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Riyaz Chagla has ordered the Union health ministry to clarify its stand on this issue within two weeks.

This significant issue came to light after widow of a Navi Mumbai based doctor approached the bench seeking insurance benefits under the PMGKP scheme.

According to the woman, her husband, a doctor by profession died in June due to the deadly Covid-19 virus. She said that her husband got infected to the deadly virus while treating patients including those infected by the virus.

The New India Assurance Company Limited (NIACL), which was made as a respondent to the plea by the woman, denied granting any insurance benefits claiming that her husband was a private practitioner and not a government employee.

At this, the woman argued that her husband had initially shut his clinic and opened only after the civic chief of Navi Mumbai issued a notice to him.

"In the notice issued in March, an explanation was sought from the private doctors as to why their hospitals and dispensaries are kept closed. Pursuant to the said notice, my husband had to open his clinic and treat patients including those infected by the Covid-19 virus. He thus consequently himself got infected by the virus and died in June," the woman argued.

During the course of the hearing, the state counsel told the judges that they have sent a proposal to the Union health ministry to include even private practitioners in the PMGKP scheme.

The counsel further told the bench that the Union is yet to respond to the state's proposal.

Having heard the contentions, the judges ordered the Union health ministry to clarify its stand on the issue within two weeks.

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