'Give COVID-19 relief benefits to eligible workers'

Provide COVID-19 relief scheme benefits to eligible workers: HC to Delhi govt

The Delhi High Court has asked the AAP government to ensure its relief scheme announced for construction workers during COVID-19 lockdown is made available to all eligible labourers.

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The direction by Justice Navin Chawla came on a plea by four workers claiming they were not getting benefits under the relief scheme announced by the Delhi government.

The court also issued notice to the Delhi government and asked it to file its reply on the plea before the next date of hearing on May 20.

One of the petitioners said he and over 200 others like him registered under the Building and Other Construction Workers Act have not been provided benefits of the relief scheme.

Another claimed that he was registered under the Act till he turned 60 years old and after that he could not be registered and thus, he had sought pension benefits available under the Act.

However, he was neither given the pension nor was he provided the benefits of the relief scheme, the petition claimed.

It also said that one of the petitioner-workers was registered till 2019 but thereafter could not renew his registration and another was not registered at all -- both have been denied benefits of the relief scheme.

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The plea claimed that the workers ought not to be denied the relief scheme benefits as otherwise it would be difficult for them to survive during the lockdown.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain and additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose, appearing for the Delhi government, denied the allegations and said a similar plea has already been filed which is pending before another bench.

They said all the allegations made in the instant petition shall be dealt with in the reply which will be filed in the other matter.

The court, thereafter, asked the petitioners to provide to the government names of all those persons who were registered under the Act but not provided the benefits and those denied pension despite being eligible.

The Delhi government was directed to "verify the details of such workers (provided by the petitioners) and if they are found to be eligible for any payment under the scheme or pension, the same shall be released to such workers forthwith".