The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the city government to release the ex-gratia compensation of Rs 1 crore to the family of a police constable who died in 2020 after contracting COVID-19 while performing his duties within four weeks.
A bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh observed that compensation had been granted to the wife and father of the deceased constable Amit Kumar under an order passed by the Delhi government on November 3. “The amount in terms of the order shall be released in four weeks,” the court ordered.
The government approved the release of Rs 60 lakh and Rs 40 lakh to the wife and father of the deceased, respectively, in terms of a cabinet decision dated May 13, 2020.
Arun Panwar, advocate for the Delhi government, assured the court that the authorities would comply with the direction.
The high court was hearing a petition by Kumar’s wife, who stated that her husband, a young Delhi Police constable, passed away on May 5, 2020, while she was expecting a child. Kumar was posted at Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital to ensure adherence to COVID-19 lockdown measures.
In December 2022, the high court had asked authorities to decide on the payment of Rs 1 crore compensation to the constable’s family, stating that the city government should not backpedal from the clear announcement made for ex-gratia payment. The court emphasized that there was a “clear communication” by the authorities and press clippings confirming the announcement of Rs 1 crore ex-gratia for the constable’s family by the Delhi government.
The petitioner, the wife of the deceased constable, asserted that the orders issued by the Delhi government during the pandemic required Delhi Police personnel to be posted for COVID-19 duty across the city.
The plea referred to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s tweet on May 7, 2020, promising Rs 1 crore ex-gratia to the constable’s family. The woman, who has two children to look after, highlighted that her husband was the first person from the police force to succumb to COVID-19.