After Supreme Court’s push, the Centre has agreed to consider financial assistance for family members of people who died by suicide within 30 days from being diagnosed as Covid positive.
In an additional affidavit submitted in the top court, the Ministry of Home Affairs said: “It is respectfully submitted that suitable directions in this regard may be passed by this Hon’ble Court, whereby, the family members of people committing suicide within 30 days from being diagnosed as Covid-19 positive as per MoH&F/ICMR guidelines will also be entitled to avail financial help as granted under SDRF in accordance with the Guidelines dated 11.09.2021 issued by NDMA under Section 12 (iii) of DMA”.
On September 13, the top court had observed that there have been cases where people suffering from Covid-19 died by suicide and such people do not form part of the guidelines issued on September 3. It further added that such people should also be suitably considered for ex-gratia, and they should also be included within the ambit of financial help sought to be given by the Union of India under the guidelines which would be framed under Section 12 (iii) of DMA.
Then, a bench comprising justices M.R. Shah and A.S. Bopanna asked the Centre to consider suicide committed by Covid positive patients as Covid death cases to enable their family members for compensation. The top court noted that the person must have taken the extreme step due to suffering from Covid infection.
The bench had told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, “you say that suicide cases would not be covered. We are of the view that it cannot be accepted. What about persons who committed suicide because of the suffering of Covid. Reconsider your decision”. Mehta had assured the court that government would re-examine the issue.
The top court had expressed its satisfaction over guidelines framed by the Centre for issuing Covid death certificates and payment of compensation.