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SC ‘Very Happy’ on India’s Covid compensation plan

Apprising the top court about the guidelines issued by the NDMA, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on behalf of the Centre, said: “To ensure uniformity, we have decided that the states from SDRF (State Disaster Response Fund) will give 50,000 to the kin of the deceased who died due to Covid.”

SNS | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it is “very happy” with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) guidelines for providing Rs 50,000 ex-gratia assistance to the kin of those who succumbed to Covid during the pandemic.

Apprising the top court about the guidelines issued by the NDMA, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on behalf of the Centre, said: “To ensure uniformity, we have decided that the states from SDRF (State Disaster Response Fund) will give 50,000 to the kin of the deceased who died due to Covid.”

“We cannot repair the loss, but we can do something,” he added.

Mehta also clarified that families of those who took their own lives, within 30 days of being detected Covid positive, will also be eligible for financial help under the Disaster Management Act.

It said that compensation will also be given to the family of those who died of the virus as they were involved in COVID-19 relief operations or activities associated with the preparedness for dealing with the pandemic.

The apex court lauded the Centre saying “no other country managed to do what India did in terms of its response to the Coronavirus pandemic even as it reserved its order on a case involving the ₹ 50,000 compensation proposed for COVID-19 deaths.”

“Today we are very happy. There will be some solace to the persons who have suffered… Everything the government is performing. We’re happy that something is being done to wipe out the tears of the person who suffered,” said the top court.

A bench of Justices M R Shah and AS Bopanna also appreciated India’s response to the coronavirus pandemic that drew intense scrutiny over thousands of deaths due to the lack of preparedness for the second wave and shortages of essentials like medical oxygen.

“Given the size of our population, vaccine expenses, economic situation and the adverse circumstances that we faced… we took exemplary steps… No other country managed to do what India did,” the judges said.

The top court was hearing an application seeking compliance of its June 30 judgment, where directions were issued to the NDMA to frame guidelines to grant compensation to the families of those who died due to Covid, and the Centre was also directed to issue guidelines to simplify the process of issuance of death certificates in Covid cases.

The Centre has filed a compliance affidavit, where it informed the top court about the NDMA guidelines framed to fix the ex-gratia at Rs 50,000 and also, guidelines framed to simplify the process of issuing death certificates.

The top court said it will pass an order in the matter on October 4.