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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Rethink exclusion of patient suicides from Covid death data: SC to Centre

“You have to re-consider this,” the bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Centre.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
September 14, 2021 3:57:57 am
The Centre had last week submitted the guidelines to the court. According to the guidelines, cases that are diagnosed through an RT-PCR/ Molecular Test/ Rapid Antigen Test, or have been clinically determined in a hospital or an in-patient facility by a physician while one is admitted there, will be recognised as Covid deaths.

The Supreme Court Monday asked the Centre to reconsider its decision to not treat death by suicide of a person infected with Covid-19 as deaths occurring due to coronavirus.

A bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna, which perused guidelines jointly issued by the Health Ministry and Indian Council of Medical Research said the guidelines “seems to be okay”. The bench, however, expressed apprehensions on some points and asked, “What about persons who committed suicide while they were suffering from corona?” The court said exclusion of a Covid-infected person who commits suicide from the purview of the guidelines cannot be prima facie accepted.

“You have to re-consider this,” the bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Centre.

The Centre had last week submitted the guidelines to the court. According to the guidelines, cases that are diagnosed through an RT-PCR/ Molecular Test/ Rapid Antigen Test, or have been clinically determined in a hospital or an in-patient facility by a physician while one is admitted there, will be recognised as Covid deaths. But deaths occurring due to poisoning, suicide, homicide, accidents, etc, will not be treated as Covid-19 deaths, even if the infection is an accompanying condition, it said.

The Centre conveyed this in an affidavit filed in compliance of the court’s directions on petitions filed by advocates Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Reepak Kansal, seeking Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia for Covid-19 victims.

The court had asked the Centre to bring simplified guidelines for issuance of documents to the kin of Covid-19 victims.

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