A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed at the Gujarat High Court (HC) on Thursday by a practising advocate, invoking the Disaster Management Act, to seek compensation for all who succumbed to Covid-19 in Gujarat.
Filed by advocate Neel Lakhani, the petition submitted that while provisions in the Act stipulate a mandatory “National Plan” for the prevention of the disaster as well as for the mitigation of its effects, no such national plan has been made available till date. It was also submitted that provisions of the Act mandate compensation for every person affected by the disaster and thus, the 2,055 patients who died due to Covid-19 in Gujarat as of July 14 should qualify for such compensation.
With contributions and donations received in cash and kind by the union and state governments under the PM CARES Fund and the CM’s Relief Fund, as well as aid from the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the PIL highlighted that these resources may be utilised to fund the compensation.
The PIL sought the court’s direction to the authorities to set up a separate fund for the purpose of “relief, rehabilitation and reparation of victims,” by providing compensation to the family of deceased Covid patients, and the appointment of ombudsman who may supervise the implementation of any such schemes.
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