The Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Employees State Insurance Corporation's (ESI) hospital for adopting an insensitive approach towards an employee of mineral water firm who lost his hand in an accident at the bottling plant.
"Have your family members suffered from any kind of disability?" a bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Manmohan asked counsel of the ESI Hospital for filing an "insensitive" affidavit before the court.
The court was hearing the plea of Lal Bahadur, who had lost his right hand in an accident in Bisleri's bottling plant last year. Bahadur had challenged the judgment of its single judge bench, which had earlier ordered Bisleri to continue paying the victim his salary of Rs 4,000 a month unto death.
The court had also stipulated the company not to reduce the victim's salary.
But Bahadur approached the division bench as he was not satisfied with the judgment of the single bench and has demanded Rs 5 million as compensation.
Bahadur was working in Bisleri's bottling plant in Punjabi Bagh in west Delhi when his hand got stuck in a machine last year. He was taken to the ESI Hospital in the area and his hand was amputated a few days later. The company apparently did not even pay for his medical expenses.
The court had then asked the ESIC what amount of compensation the petitioner was entitled to and what benefits he can avail of from the hospital.
To this, the ESIC filed an affidavit that no compensation is required for the petitioner for the mental agony he suffered after the accident.
"It's the limit of insensitivity and you (ESIC) as a statutory body should not adopt such an approach," the bench said.
"You know what's the pain when a finger is cut from a hand...in this case the petitioner has lost his hand. We wanted to know what relief the ESIC can give to him," the court said.
Bahadur's lawyer Manohar Singh Bakshi told IANS: "His hand was badly crushed and he was immediately rushed to an ESI hospital in the area. A few days later his hand was amputated despite Bahadur's refusal. The company did not even pay for his medical expenses. It's a case of gross negligence on behalf of the hospital and Bisleri."
"These claims took seven-eight years before reaching the settlement. I am pained at seeing the ESIC's approach and with this present trend no hope is left for these people," the bench said while asking the ESIC's counsel to withdraw its affidavit.
The bench also asked Bahadur to give his representation Sep 14 before the medical board, which would then assess the benefit. It slated the matter for hearing Oct 5.