CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to frame a scheme for providing employment on compassionate grounds for dependents of frontline workers who died during the Covid-19 pandemic. Quoting an order dated May 27, 2021, of the first bench of the court, Justice D Krishnakumar recently gave the direction.
“In compliance with the directions issued by the First Bench of this court, so far no guidelines or scheme has been framed by the State government. Therefore, the respondents (govt authorities concerned) shall frame necessary guidelines and file a report before this court on the next hearing date (August 10),” said the judge in his order.
The judge, while hearing a petition filed by the husband of a nurse who died of Covid-19 during duty at RGGGH seeking employment under compassionate grounds based on a press announcement made by the CM, refused to accept the argument of the Additional Advocate General (AAG) R Neelakandan that the petitioner had not fulfilled the eligibility criteria as per GO Ms No. 18 of Labour and Employment department dated January 23, 2020. The G.O. mentions the indigent condition of the dependent family as one of the eligibility criteria.
The judge said in the absence of any clarification or guidelines/instructions from the government that CM’s announcement will apply only to those who have satisfied the eligibility criteria as per the labour department G.O., this court is of the view that the submission of the AAG cannot be countenanced.
The petitioner’s family was given an ex gratia of `50 lakh by the Central government after the death of the nurse. However, when he applied for a government job as per the CM’s announcement, he was given a job in a private company.