The Madras High Court recently held that a kin of a Covid-19 victim could not claim benefits/compensation under both the Central government scheme and the State government scheme but only one of them.

The Bench of Justice C.V. Karthikeyan observed that “A person can get that benefit of that scheme either under the Central Government or under the State Government scheme. He cannot seek a relief from both the Central Government and from the State Government Scheme. That would be making unlawful gain from unfortunate death.”

In this case, the petition was filed by the deceased nurse’s husband who had sought compensation of Rs. 50 Lakh from the Tamil Nadu government. The nurse had passed away after contracting Covid twice while working at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai.

Advocate R. Thirugnanam appearing for the petitioner, submitted that even if the compensation had already been paid by the Central Government under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting Covid-19, the petitioner was eligible for payment of another sum of Rs.50,00,000/- from the State Government.

Government Advocate P. Rajarajeswari appeared for the respondents, opposed the petitioner’s plea and submitted that the petitioner had received the amount sanctioned by the Centre, and the State government had also paid him all other terminal benefits such as family benefit of Rs.3,00,000/-, DCRG of Rs.17,46,927/- and leave salary benefit of Rs.9,70,124/-. Moreover, the daughter of the deceased had also been given an appointment as an Assistant in the Office of the National Health Mission, Tamil Nadu, Chennai.

The Court noted that the petitioner had already benefited by payment of a sum of Rs. 50 Lakhs under the PMGKP, Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting Covid- 19 and observed that “The purport of the scheme is that the benefit should be either from the Central Government or from the State Government. If the benefit has been rejected by the Central Government, then the State Government would extend its arms and embrace the petitioner and seek to be alleviate his grievances.”

The Court further observed that "The purport of the Chief Minister's announcement is only to equalise the compensation payable by the State Government to the same amount as that was promised by the Central Government. It was Rs.10,00,000/- by the State Government and that was increased to Rs.50,00,000/-. There was no intention that the sum of Rs.50,00,000/- which was the sum to be paid by the State Government was over and above the sum paid by the Central Government."

The Court while concluding also said that the petitioner should not stand in the way of yet another family similarly benefiting from the State Government for such compensation by asking the claim amount for himself over and above again and again.

Accordingly, the writ petition was dismissed.

Cause Tile- K. Arunachalam v. The Principal Secretary to Government & Ors.

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