Delhi

Delhi HC refuses to direct govt to pay ‘risk, hardship allowance’ to health workers on COVID-19 duty

Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court  

The high court observed that undoubtedly the health workers are doing a commendable job under very odd and difficult circumstances but the court cannot create a law or policy and seek to enforce it.

Tuesday refused to direct the Centre to pay risk and hardship allowance to health workers deployed on COVID-19 duty, saying the Constitution does not permit the court to advise the executive in policy matters.

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The high court observed that undoubtedly the health workers are doing a commendable job under very odd and difficult circumstances but the court cannot create a law or policy and seek to enforce it.

A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula passed the order while dismissing a petition seeking direction to the ministry of Health and Family welfare to make provisions for the payment of ‘risk and hardship’ allowance, incentives in form of bonus, additional salary to the health workers who are presently serving on the frontline in view of the lockdown situation due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.

In our opinion, the press note with regard to the 7th Central Pay Commission Report does not specifically recommend payment of hazard or risk pay to health workers deployed on COVID-19 duty, the bench said, adding that the petition was bereft of merits.

Undoubtedly, the health workers are doing a commendable job under very odd and difficult circumstances, but it is settled law that the Constitution does not permit the court to direct or advise the executive in matters of policy or to sermonise qua any matter which under the Constitution lies within the sphere of legislature or executive. If there is a law, the court can certainly enforce it; but the court cannot create a law or policy and seek to enforce it, it said.

The petition filed by S.K. Rout had also sought direction to the authorities to make provisions for the payment of salaries to the health workers in time and also to supply the basic Personal Protection Equipments (PPE) to all of them.

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The court, however, said there is no averment in the petition with regard to shortage of PPE kits or a complaint/ grievance by any health worker regarding non-payment of salaries.

It is settled law that newspapers are second-hand, secondary evidence and no court can grant relief only on the basis of what is published in them, it said.

The bench noted that the petitioner has not filed a representation seeking any relief either with the State or the Central Government, before approaching the court.

The petitioner’s counsel had said that the benefit of hazard or risk pay which has been extended to officers in high-active field areas such as the country’s borders or counter-insurgency operations in accordance with the 7th Central Pay Commission should be extended to health workers who are dealing with or treating COVID-19 patients.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:01:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/delhi-hc-refuses-to-direct-govt-to-pay-risk-hardship-allowance-to-health-workers-on-covid-19-duty/article31510027.ece

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