Mumbai

4 years after death, Bombay HC directs State to pay ₹10 lakh to widows of firemen

4 years after death, Bombay HC directs State to pay ₹10 lakh to widows of firemen 

4 years after death, Bombay HC directs State to pay ₹10 lakh to widows of firemen  | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Four years after the incident, the Bombay High Court recently directed the Maharashtra government to pay insurance cover of ₹10 lakh to widows of two firemen who died in November 2018 while trying to rescue three persons from a well.

A division Bench of Justices Revati Mohitedere and Madhav Jadhav was hearing a petition filed by two women Deepa Wagchaude and Anjali Shelar challenging the order of the State government denying insurance and ex-gratia to their husbands.

The petitioner’s husbands were firemen with the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation and had died while trying to rescue three people who had fainted while cleaning the well. The firemen were also unconscious due to toxic gas and were later declared dead by the hospital.

The men had an insurance cover of ₹11 lakh under the Group Personal Accident Insurance Policy of the government insurance fund, taken out by the deputy chief fire officer of the corporation.

The court noted that the State government and the Directorate of Insurance had not considered all factors before rejecting insurance and ex-gratia payment and said that would have a cascading effect on others performing their duties.

The court said, “It is pertinent to note that the ethyl alcohol was also seen in the viscera report of even the persons who had fallen unconscious due to poisonous gases in the well and had succumbed. The contents of alcohol were almost similar in each of the five reports, which are highly improbable.”

The Bench order read, “It is clearly evident that the petitioner’s husbands succumbed to the toxic gases and fluids found in the well and as such, there was no justification for the State to reject the petitioner’s claim under the Group Personal Accident Insurance Policy.”

The court also remarked, “how the petitioner’s husbands answered their call of duty which was to rescue the lives of three persons, who were lying unconscious in the well. They did not bat an eyelid and went forward only to succumb to the toxic gases and fluids in the well,” the order mentioned.

Therefore, the court directed the State to make the payment of ₹10 lakhs within eight weeks.


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Printable version | Aug 19, 2022 9:57:08 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/4-years-after-death-bombay-hc-directs-state-to-pay-10-lakh-to-widows-of-firemen/article65589776.ece