States To Give Rs 50k Compensation To Kin For COVID Deaths: Centre to SC
Centre's suggestions came after the SC's June 30 order directing the NDMA to formulate guidelines in case of COVID deaths.
The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed its happiness over the Centre's recommendation of paying Rs. 50,000 as ex gratia compensation to family members of those who died due to COVID. "Today we are very happy. There will be some solace to the persons who have suffered. Everything the Government is performing... We're happy that something is being done to wipe out tears...," Justice MR Shah observed.
Justice Shah, who was heard the matter along with Justice AS Bopanna added that "judicial notice" must be taken of the fact that India has done, what no other country could do (for those affected by COVID).
The Centre filed two affidavits outlining their recommendations to alleviate the suffering of those affected by COVID. Next of kin of those persons who die by suicide within 30 days of testing COVID positive, will also be entitled for compensation, the Centre said in its affidavit.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, told the court, "To ensure uniformity, we have decided that the States from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) will give 50,000 to the kin of the deceased who died due to COVID."
"We cannot repair the loss, but we can do something", the Solicitor General added.
The Centre's recommendation came in light of a June 30 Supreme Court order that directed the National Disaster Management Authority to formulate guidelines for compensation to be paid to family members in case of COVID deaths. The court at the time had left it to the wisdom of the NDMA to decide on the compensation amount to be given.
The Supreme Court will give its orders on this issue on October 4.
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BOOM looks at the guidelines formulated:
1) Rs 50,000 compensation to family members of those who succumbed to COVID. This will include those who were also included in relief operations.
2) Compensation will be disbursed to those who are certified as COVID deaths. Family members of those persons who died by suicide within 30 days of testing COVID positive are also to be included.
3) The money will be disbursed by the States and the funds will be drawn from the SDRF.
4) Compensation is applicable to those who died a COVID death before September 3, 2021, when the guidelines were released by the Health Ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
5) Family members of those who died because of COVID can approach the district authorities to get revised death certificates indicating a COVID death. The grievances and redressal claims regarding death certificates will be looked at by an expert committee which will include the Additional District Collector, Chief Medical officer of Health, HOD/Principal of a college and subject expert. A fresh certification will be issued after the claims are verified in accordance with the guidelines.
6) The above mentioned committee will also have the authority to summon hospitals that fail to give family members information on the cause of death of patients.
6) COVID-19 cases which are not resolved and have died either in hospital settings or at home, and where a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) is COVID will be considered as a COVID death.
7) The compensation scheme will be a continuous process and will also be applicable to COVID deaths in the future in any phase of the pandemic.
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