The Supreme Court, on Monday, approved the ex-gratia policy of Rs 50,000 to families of people who died of Covid-19.
“Next kin of the deceased shall be paid an amount of Rs 50,000 and it will be over and above the amounts paid by centre and state under various benevolent schemes,” a bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna said.
The court said that the amount should be disbursed within 30 days of submission of the application. It also court said that Covid-19 cases for purposes of compensation would be those where the victims tested positive in an outside clinic or inpatient facility within 30 days of the date of death.
Unresolved Covid-19 cases, where the person dies in their home or a hospital will also be treated as covid-19 death if a family member satisfies the authority that the cause of death was indeed covid, the court said. It also ordered that no state shall then deny the benefit of 50,000 on the ground that cause of death is not shown as covid in the death certificate.
If any family member has grievances regarding the death certificate already issued, he/she can move the grievance redressal committee to be constituted by states. These committees can examine the medical records of the deceased and take a call within 30 days and order the compensation. For this, it can call for records from hospitals if needed, the bench added.
The court also asked the concerned authorities to publish the name of the beneficiaries in the print media.
Hearing two petitions filed by Advocates Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Reepak Kansal, the apex court had asked the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to look into the question of providing ex-gratia to the next of kin of the deceased.
The court had also asked the government to frame simplified guidelines for the issue of official documents to their family members, which would also help them get the ex gratia and if needed, pursue correction of papers issued by the municipal or other authorities in connection with the death.
Accordingly, the Ministry of Health and Famil Welfare (MoHFW) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) jointly brought out the guidelines which said that cases that are diagnosed through an RT-PCR/ Molecular Test/ Rapid Antigen Test, or that 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.
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