Kriti Agrawal –
Hearing two separate petitions seeking compensation for the relatives of those who died as a result of covid, the Madras High Court ruled that the Court cannot issue mandamus ordering all covid victims to be reimbursed, regardless of their financial situation.
In response to a petition seeking compensation for dependents or heirs of deceased attorneys, particularly those who were victims of covid, the Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said:
“It is a question of policy for the state to decide whether and to what amount to compensate a specific group of people. There is no question that certain types of individuals will seek compensation, and this is a subject solely within the purview of the State. Because the majority of functionaries in this sector are advocates, the Court cannot pick and choose which advocates receive preferential treatment.”
The Court heard another petition seeking adequate and necessary compensation, as well as granting and providing other relief measures, to the kith and kins of the covid-19 dead family, for the welfare of the children of both parents who died, and to pay an adequate solatium to the relatives of the covid-19 Pandemic dead in order to cover funeral expenses.
To this, the Bench said, “It has been a practice in this Court to claim the exceptional jurisdiction granted by Article 226 of the Constitution in public interest litigation, sometimes for self-publicity, in order to obtain extraordinary orders that the judiciary may not be competent to issue. It is a matter of policy whether or not a state decides to provide aid to those impacted by a calamity or disaster.”
The Court also noted that many plans have been put in place, both at the state and central levels, to provide relief to certain groups of people, whether through food or money aid, and that it is best that such matters be left to the government without involvement from Courts.