The Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it was considering a plea to provide monetary compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the family members of those who have died due to Covid-19.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted before a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and M.R. Shah that the issue raised in the PILs is important, and the government would file its response in the matter.
Mehta said that the government is contemplating a national policy, and sought two weeks to file its reply.
As the bench queried why two weeks were needed, Mehta replied: “As your lordships are aware, the entire machinery is occupied with certain other pressing issues.”
A counsel appearing in the matter submitted that the death happening because of the black fungus is also result of Covid, therefore, the death certificate must mention this reason. To this, Mehta replied: “Your case is genuine, and it will be addressed by the Central government.”
After a brief hearing in the matter, the bench said: “The Centre seeks time to file a reply. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta says issues are under consideration and a reply will be filed.., List these petitions on June 21.”
Two PILs were filed by advocates Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Reepak Kansal seeking court’s intervention for payment of Rs four lakh ex-gratia amount to Covid victims’ families.
On May 24, the court had sought a response from the Centre on the plea, and also asked it to inform whether there was a uniform policy on issuance of death certificates, when cause of death was Covid. The bench had noted that many time reasons given in a death certificate can be heart attack or lung failure, but these could be triggered by Covid-19.
Bansal cited Section 12 (iii) of the Disaster Management Act (DMA) providing for ex gratia monetary compensation for the families of those who died during a notified disaster.
“It is respectfully submitted that as per Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 it is the fundamental duty of National Disaster Management Authority to provide minimum standards of relief to persons affected by disaster….,” said his plea.