A PIL was moved in the Delhi High Court on Monday (March 30) to provide medical insurance cover to media persons who are reporting on coronavirus, which has infected 1,071 people and claimed 29 lives in India.
The plea by advocate Arpit Bhargava was mentioned for urgent hearing before a high court joint registrar who said it would be taken up only after the ongoing lockdown to contain COVID-19 outbreak is relaxed.
The petition has sought directions to the central government to “provide medical and/or life insurance cover to each journalist, reporters and all other media persons, whether contractual/Adhoc/permanent, of at least Rs 50 lakhs each”.
He has said media persons have been exempted from the lockdown by the government to disseminate information about COVID-19 accurately and timely to the people and they are working round the clock “without caring for their own safety”.
“Thus, welfare, safety and security of media persons also assume significance in this hour of crisis when cases of COVID-19 are increasing day by day in India,” the petition said.
It further said that while the central government acknowledged the efforts of the health professionals in this time of crisis by coming out with an insurance scheme “whereby any health professional, who while treating COVID-19 patients, met with some accident, then he/she would be compensated with a number of Rs 50 lakh”.
“Surprisingly, media persons were left out from the said benefit for reasons best known to the government despite the acknowledgment of efforts of media persons by the Prime Minister of India,” it said.
“It is through the efforts of journalists, reporters, and other media persons that there is no panic in India and constant updates on the threat of coronavirus are being relayed and presented to the public at large,” it further said.