At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE M. SATHYANARAYANAN & THE HONOURABLE MRS. JUSTICE PUSHPA SATHYANARAYANA
For the Petitioner: K. Kathiresan, Advocate. For the Respondents: R1, G. Karthikeyan, ASG, R2 to R7, V. Anatha Natarajan, Advocate, R8 & R9, V. Jayaprakash Narayan, GP.
(Prayer: Writ petition has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for the issuance of Writ of Mandamus, to direct the respondents to provide proper insurance coverage upto 25 lakhs for LPG deliverymen in cash of death due to corona virus infection by collecting the name list of all deliverymen employed by LPG distributing Agencies through online communication and to provide all LPG deliverymen with necessary preventive materials to contain the spread deliverymen with necessary preventive materials to contain the spread of Corona Virus, such as N95 safety masks and gloves set for each cylinder, and sufficient quantity of hand wash liquid for washing of their hands, and on rupee detergent soap powder sachet for each cylinder to wash cylinders before taking them from godown and from consumers and to issue public notice of authorization for the LPG deliverymen to move freely from and to of home and workplace and to take cylinders from godown and to deliver the same to consumers with in stipulated time may be fixed by this Court.)
M. Sathyanarayanan, J.
1. The petitioner claims to be the State Vice President of Tamilnadu LPG Cylinder Deliveryman's Employees Union and the learned counsel for the petitioner would submit that despite the serious outbreak of COVID-19 in this country, the respondents / Oil Companies and their distributors/Agencies are not taking any effective steps to provide the deliverymen with necessary preventive measures such as N95 Safety Masks, gloves, sanitizers etc., and would further plead that in the event of demise, there must be a proper Insurance coverage by paying a sum of Rs.25 Lakhs to the family of the person who may die on account of the said virus and prays for appropriate orders.
2. Respondents 2 and 5, 3 and 6 and 4 and 7 have filed their respective counter affidavits and it is their stand that necessary instructions/advisories have been issued to all the distributors and also to be followed by the delivery boys while making refill delivery and that apart, the distributors have also provided masks, gloves and sanitizers to all the delivery staff. It is further stated that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has also announced Ex-gratia of Rs.5 Lakhs to the kith and kin of the deliveryman in the event of unfortuate demise due to COVID-19 while making deliveries and that apart, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has also announced Insurance coverage of Rs.1 Lakh towards treatment of delivery boys who may be infected by the said disease. It is also stated that each and every LPG Distributor enters into an agreement with the respective Oil Corporations termed as “Indane” [Liquified Petroleum Gas] Distributorship [Domestic and Commercial] Agreement and clauses of the said Agreement deals with all eventualities and since proper and effective measures have also been put in place, prays for dismissal of the writ petition.
3. The learned counsel for the petitioner would submit that though the counter affidavits speak about the effective and preventive measures, the same has not been put in place in practice and the sums of Rs.5 Lakhs and Rs.1 lakh is only a pittance when compared to the hardships undergone by the delivery boys and prays for a positive direction.
4. This Court has carefully considered the rival submissions and also perused the materials placed before this Court.
5. In the light of the stand taken by various Oil Corporations in the counter affidavits, this Court is of the considered view that proper and effective mechanism have also been put in place for the safety of the delivery boys and the Management of the Oil Corporations shall also cau
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se periodical inspection and also surprise inspections as to the compliance for the provision of safety gears such as masks, sanitizers etc., and shall also follow it properly at regular intervals. 6. In the light of the stand taken by the Oil Corporations in their counter affidavits, no further orders are necessary in this writ petition. 7. Therefore, the writ petition is closed. No costs.