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Friday, September 17, 2021

SC upset at Central govt’s delay in framing plan to issue Covid-19 death certificates

“We passed the order a long time back. We have already extended the time once. By the time you frame the guidelines, the third phase [of Covid-19] will also be over,” observed Justice M R Shah, who shared a bench with Justice Aniruddha Bose.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: September 4, 2021 3:24:56 am
Relatives of a patient, who died of Covid-19, mourn outside a hospital. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna/File)

The Supreme Court Friday questioned the Centre over delay in framing guidelines for issuing death certificates to kin of Covid-19 victims, as directed by the court earlier, and sought a compliance report by September 11.

“We passed the order a long time back. We have already extended the time once. By the time you frame the guidelines, the third phase [of Covid-19] will also be over,” observed Justice M R Shah, who shared a bench with Justice Aniruddha Bose.

The bench was irked after the Centre sought one more week to file an affidavit showing compliance of its June 30 directions asking the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to recommend guidelines for ex gratia assistance to family members of those who died of Covid.

Appearing for the government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought to assure the court everything is under consideration.

The court’s June 30 direction had come on petitions filed by advocates Reepak Kansal and Gaurav Kumar Bansal, who sought directions for providing Rs 4 lakh compensation to families of those who had succumbed to Covid-19. The government had earlier filed an application requesting more time to comply with the direction. It had said NDMA was already at it, and that it required some more time.

On Friday, Bansal told the bench that the matter should not get delayed. He pointed out that the court had already granted extension of time to the Centre to frame guidelines for ex gratia compensation but it had not done that and was now seeking more time.

The June 30 order also left the “reasonable amount to be offered towards ex gratia assistance…to the wisdom of National Authority (NDMA)…taking into consideration…requirement/availability of the fund under NDRF/SDRF for other reliefs and priorities determined by the National Authority/Union Government and fund required for other minimum standards of relief and fund required for prevention, preparedness, mitigation and recovery and other reliefs to carry out the obligation under DMA (Disaster Management Act) 2005”.

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