The Bombay High Court on Friday asked the Maharashtra government to state its position on a petition seeking compensation for families of frontline workers who died after contracting COVID-19 infection on duty.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai was hearing a petition filed by social worker Ketan Tirodkar.

The petitioner had sought direction to the state government to declare frontline workers, including doctors, police personnel and others, who died after contracting the deadly infection on duty, as martyrs and to give their families compensation.

In its response to the petition last week,the state government had said insurance cover is being provided to all healthcare workers in private and government-run hospitals under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package – Insurance Scheme for Health Workers.

The bench on Friday, however, noted that the state government's affidavit was both "cryptic and casual".

"We want to know what the state government's stand is on the plea. Is there any law or policy in place?" Chief Justice Datta asked.

The court posted the petition for further hearing after two weeks and directed the state government to clarify its stand.