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SC asks Centre to submit guidelines on COVID death compensation in 10 days

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The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to submit guidelines regarding financial compensation to the family of those who died due to COVID-19 by September 23.

Last week, the Centre had informed the apex court that the Ministry of Health and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have come up with guidelines for issuing “official document” for COVID-19 related deaths.

The top court has also asked the Union government to reconsider a clause that provides that death occurring due to poisoning, suicide, homicide and accident, among others, will not be considered as COVID-19 deaths even if the infection is an accompanying condition.

The division bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice AS Bopanna said, “You have said if a person committed suicide after (being infected with) COVID-19, there will be no compensation… this cannot be accepted. You have to re-consider this.” Following this, the government too has agreed to reconsider the clause.

SC asked govt to pay compensation

The Supreme Court had on June 30 ruled that the Union government must pay compensation to the families of those who died due to COVID-19. However, it left it on the Centre to decide on the quantum of compensation. The court granted the National Disaster Management Authority six weeks to decide on the compensation amount and frame the guidelines.

A division bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah had said, “We direct NDMA to form guidelines for ex-gratia compensation for family members of persons who succumbed to COVID, as per minimum standards of relief. What reasonable amount is to be provided is left to the wisdom of the authority.”

The court’s diktat came in response to a public interest litigation seeking Rs 4 lakh compensation for the families of those dying due to COVID-19. The apex court had also said death certificates for those who had died of COVID-19 must include the date and cause of death and there should be mechanisms in place to correct the cause of death if the family is not satisfied.

COVID-19 situation

The health ministry on Monday informed that 27,254 fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported in India in the past 24 hours. The addition of the fresh cases has taken the COVID-19 case tally past 3.32 crore.

The ministry also informed that over 74.38 crore COVID-19 jabs have been administered so far. Of it, over 53.38 lakh people were vaccinated on September 12.

Also, 219 COVID-19 related deaths were reported by the ministry during this period. The addition of the fresh fatalities has taken India’s death toll due to the deadly virus to 4,42,874. Previously, the death toll had touched 4,529-mark on May 19.

Of the over 3.32 crore coronavirus cases reported so far, over 3.74 lakh are active cases of the virus. It is 1.13 per cent of the total caseload. Over 3.24 crore cases have recovered from the viral infection so far.

 

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