Bombay HC: ASHA Workers are at the forefront of fight against Covid-19, ensure proposed payment of Rs. 200/day instead of Rs. 1000/month

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A batch of PILs and writ petitions was filed in the Bombay High Court’s Bench at Nagpur concerning the steps taken by the government to deal with the pandemic situation of Covid19. Along with this PIL, the court also considered the PIL filed before this court regarding the pathetic conditions of ASHA workers.

Arguments before the Court

The counsel on behalf of the respondent contended that the government has taken steps to combat this situation and set up a Common Collection Center of samples for testing at Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital at Nagpur.

The samples from these laboratories have been further transferred for testing to other laboratories, and it is ensured that reports are provided within 24 hours. Similarly, the government has taken various steps to avail RT-PCR machines for Covid 2019 tests.

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It is further stated that the state government had received 70,000 testing kits for distribution in hot spot areas, but the same has not been into use until further orders of ICMR.

On the other hand, the counsel on behalf of the respondent argued that ICMR refrained from using the testing kits of two Chinese companies, but what about other testing kits. Two PILs were filed where petitioner contended that the cases were increasing in Amravati district, but the government had not taken any steps. In another PIL, petitioner claimed that Covid19 tests should be conducted for all doctors, health workers etc.

The respondent contended that he would take specific instructions regarding guidelines for conducting RTPCR tests of doctors, health workers and Police personnel. Regarding the petition related to the conditions of ASHA workers, the petitioner contended that the appropriate remuneration is not paid to the workers and also protective equipment are not provided to them.

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In response to this petition, the affidavit was filed by the respondent stating that the proposal has been made for payment of Rs. 200 per day to ASHA workers. Essential equipment for protection should also be provided to them along with the insurance of Rs. 50 lacs in case of death of any worker.

Court’s Views

The court, after looking into the arguments of the respondent, stated that State (respondent) is not justified in refusing to distribute and undertake the surveillance of testing kits. Indian companies also provided the testing kits, and ICMR letter refrained from using kits of two Chinese companies. Thus the court directed to take steps for surveillance and prevention of the spread of Covid19.

The court also finds that the state has to take the issue seriously of undertaking rapid tests of citizens, residents, doctors, health workers and citizens. The court also finds that the ASHA workers are being treated in the most unfortunate manner. The amount of Rs. 1000, 2000 or 2500 per month is insufficient. Thus the workers should be paid Rs. 200 per day instead of Rs. 1000 per month.

Court’s decision

The justice expressed his view regarding the petitions filed before this court that the government are expected to take extreme measures due to its accountability towards citizens. Also, the court stated that:

“The Union of India as well as the Nagpur Municipal Corporation as also the respondent-State Government are expected to take necessary steps before the next date of hearing to ensure that the proposed payment of 200/- per day to the ASHA workers is made ₹ 1000/- per month and that so that such warriors on the forefront of the war against COVID-2019 are not left high and dry.”


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