COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo moto cognizance of a media report stating that the healthcare workers, who are at the maximum risk to contract the corona virus infections are facing refusals/demands for high premiums to buy group Mediclaim policies.

Reportedly, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise and the government offers little clarity on insurance cover for private healthcare professionals doing non-Covid work, and there is a scramble to find the right policy.

It is further stated that while most doctors have a medical cover, the struggle has mainly been about ensuring protection for their staffers. Moreover, as mentioned in the news report there is also confusion whether the Rs 50 lakh health cover provided by the Central government for healthcare workers included private doctors, staffers and also those doing non-Covid work.

Accordingly, The Commission has issued notices to the the Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and the Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Insurance Division, Union Ministry of Finance calling for a detailed report in the matter within 4 weeks, positively.

Issuing the notices, the Commission has observed that in this period of pandemic, what the country needs most is proper health facilities and infrastructure. Denial of insurance claims by the companies to the Covid Warriors will definitely bring down their morale and its result will adversely affect the general public at the end. Considering the issue as a case of violation of human rights , the Commission thought its intervention necessary in the matter as the sufferers will be poor citizens who are already under trauma of the Corona virus due to lack of medical facilities.

According to the media report, Dr Sudhir Naik, in charge of the medico-legal cell of the Association of Medical Consultants (AMC) has reportedly said that no insurance company wanted to cover the Covid-warriors. He has stated that the authorities have been forcing us to keep our clinics open, but the staffers are apprehensive about working. The medical fraternity is reportedly pinning its hopes on the standard Covid-19 policy which the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked all the insurance providers to design by June 15.

Reportedly, several nursing home owners in the city have been scouting for a group cover, but with little success. The companies have refused to extend even the fixed benefit covers. Here the beneficiary is paid a lumpsum on testing positive. The sum assured can vary from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2 lakh, and annual premium is relatively low.

As per news report, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has said that a company which earlier agreed to extend a fixed benefit cover of up to Rs 2 lakh to its members, pulled out of the deal after Covid-19 cases began to rise in the state. The IMA has reportedly stated that the company has returned the premium paid by around 150 doctors who had already signed the documents.


NHRC

Press Release dt. 12-06-2020

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Govind Mathur, CJ Ramesh Sinha, J. while issuing notice to the State of Uttar Pradesh called upon the State to provide the rehabilitation scheme for migrant workers, policy and norms for providing medical facilities to them and complete layout to reduce migration of the natives of Uttar Pradesh to other parts of the country.

Advocates for the petitioner, Gaurav Tripathi and Ritesh Srivastava by the instant petition have agitated the cause of “Migrant Labourers” who in their opinion are travelling on foot from their working place to hometown.

Neither the Central nor the State Governments, where the labourers were working made adequate arrangements for their movement and their families.

It is also reported that even at Railway Stations no food is available, hence, the people travelling in the trains known as “Shramik Special” are facing starvation.

They asserted that there is no term like “Migrant Labourer” or “Migrant Workmen”. Statute prescribes only the labourer or workmen hence, it was States responsibility where the workmen were working to provide necessities during the lockdown.

Present circumstances, as per the petitioners, is nothing but to put lakhs of workmen in a condition close to death without any fault on their part.

Petitioners stated that due to non- availability of basic infrastructure for employment in the State of Uttar Pradesh, lakhs of people use to migrate to the other States to earn their livelihood.

Present attitude of the State Governments where these people were working is contrary to the spirit of union and federal structure, therefore, it is more necessary for the State of Uttar Pradesh to strengthen its edifice for local employment.

Bench

Court with regard to the issue of transportation and providing food for so called ‘Migrant Labourers’ stated that Supreme Court taking suo moto cognizance on the said issue had already dealt with the same.

Further, Court deemed it appropriate to call upon the State to explain on the policy and norms for providing medical facilities and treatment to migrant workmen and their families alongwith the scheme for rehabilitation of migrant workmen and their families in the State of Uttar Pradesh.

State also directed to give a complete layout to reduce migration of the natives of Uttar Pradesh to other parts of the country to earn minimum livelihood.

Thus in view of the above Court issued notice to State of U.P. [Ritesh Srivastava v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 633 , decided on 26-05-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh, JJ. while partly allowing the present petition stated that,

“Ministry of External Affairs, GOI may in their discretion consider evacuation of Indian students from Kazakhstan if imperative in latter’s interests.”

Central Government Standing Counsel, Jasmeet Singh representing Union of India and Ministry of External Affairs Government of India informed the Bench that Martin Cyriac Clemenese, Second Secretary and Officer-in-Charge of Representative Office of India at Almaty, Kazakhstan has been appointed as Nodal Officer for Indian Students in Kazakhstan.

115 Indian Students are stranded at the Almaty Airport, Kazakhstan. They have been provided with food, lodging and medical assistance in terms of Court’s order dated 25-03-2020, wherein it was directed by the Court:

“to promptly appoint a Nodal Officer from the Indian Embassy in Kazakhstan to ensure, inter alia, the welfare, well-being and safety of all such Indian students. The Nodal Officer is directed to expeditiously facilitate, secure and provide the said students with all basic amenities and including humanitarian assistance, in terms of, medical care, boarding (food), lodging and transportation, as may be necessary or warranted.”

Court is also informed that none amongst these Indian Students are reported to be have been infected by corona virus.

Central Government Standing Counsel stated that in view of the complete lockdown ordered by Kazakhstan Government, it is not possible for them to be transported back to their hostel accommodation. Also they can’t be flown back to India due to complete lockdown.

Further he states that, Ministry of External Affairs shall continue to ensure and secure the welfare, well-being and safety of the students with the provision of basic amenities till the situation comes back to normal.

In view of the petition id disposed of. [Shehla Saira v. Union of India,  2020 SCC OnLine Del 499 , decided on 27-03-2020]