The top court of India on Monday approved an ex-gratia policy of Rs 50,000 to families of people who died of Covid-19.
A bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna said, “Next kin of the deceased shall be paid an amount of Rs 50,000 and it will be over and above the amounts paid by centre and state under various benevolent schemes.”
According to the court orders, the funds need to be disbursed within 30 days of submission of the application. The court further said that for compensation, Covid-19 instances would be those in which the victims tested positive in an outpatient clinic or inpatient institution within 30 days of their death.
Unresolved Covid-19 cases, which is in situations where a person dies at home or in a hospital, the death would be considered as a covid-19 death if a family member convinces the authorities that the cause of death was Covid. It further said that no state may refuse the 50,000 payment because the cause of death is not listed as Covid on the death certificate.
If a family member has a problem with a death certificate that has already been issued, he or she can file a complaint with the grievance redressal body that states will form. These committees can go through the deceased's medical data and make a decision within 30 days, ordering compensation. It can also request data from hospitals if necessary, according to the bench.
The court further ordered that the names of the recipients be published in the print media by the relevant authorities.
The court also requested that the government develop simpler rules for issuing official documents to their family members, which would assist them in receiving ex gratia and, if necessary, pursuing rectification of papers issued by municipal or other authorities in connection with the death.
As a result of the court order, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) jointly issued guidelines stating that cases diagnosed using an RT-PCR, Molecular Test, or Rapid Antigen Test, or clinically determined in a hospital or in-patient facility by a physician while the patient is admitted, will be considered Covid deaths.
The Supreme Court has ordered the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to examine the issue of giving ex-gratia to the deceased's next of kin after hearing two petitions filed by Advocates Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Reepak Kansal.
Petitioners asked the court in June to intervene in the payment of compensation to the families of Covid-19 victims. They claimed that because Covid-19 was "specially" declared a catastrophe under India's National Disaster Management Act, sufferers should be compensated.
In 2005 the legislation was created to provide effective disaster management, including the development of mitigation plans, capacity building, and compensation for lost lives, injuries, and property damage. According to the law families of those who have died in a disaster shall receive monetary assistance of 400,000 rupees.
Supratik Mitra is a student of political science at the University of Delhi.
While completing college, he continues to work as a reporter, working with many
media houses previously. He is interested in Indian politics and Science and
Technology and is also an avid policy researcher. He reports and writes articles
on national news, science and tech news, and health news.
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