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‘We are very happy’: SC on Rs 50K ex gratia to Covid victims’ kin

The Supreme Court on Thursday said it is “very happy” with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) guidelines for providing Rs 50,000 ex-gratia assistance to the kin of those who succumbed to Covid.

Apprising the top court about the guidelines issued by the NDMA, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said: “To ensure uniformity, we have decided that the states from SDRF (State Disaster Response Fund) 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,” he added.

Mehta also clarified that families of those who took their own lives, within 30 days of being detected Covid positive, will also be eligible for financial help under the Disaster Management Act.

A bench of Justices M.R. Shah and A.S. Bopanna orally said: “We are very happy. This will bring solace to a lot of people…. it will wipe the tears of many”.

It also appreciated the government’s Covid management in the country, and added: “We are happy that something is being done to wipe out tears of the person who suffered. We have to take judicial notice of the fact that what India has done, no other country could do.”

The top court noted that given the size of the population, vaccine expenses, economic situation, and the adverse circumstances, the government took exemplary steps. Mehta said India, as a nation, responded well.

According to NDMA guidelines, Rs 50,000 ex-gratia assistance will be paid to the families of those who died due to Covid-19 by the states from the SDRF.

During the hearing, Mehta emphasised that India, in context of Covid management, has done a much better job than many foreign countries. The bench said it has said this in its order also.

The top court was hearing an application seeking compliance of its June 30 judgment, where directions were issued to the NDMA to frame guidelines to grant compensation to the families of those who died due to Covid, and the Centre was also directed to issue guidelines to simplify the process of issuance of death certificates in Covid cases.

The Centre has filed a compliance affidavit, where it informed the top court about the NDMA guidelines framed to fix the ex-gratia at Rs 50,000 and also, guidelines framed to simplify the process of issuing death certificates. The top court said it will pass an order in the matter on October 4.

The top court’s June 30 judgment came on PILs which were filed by advocates Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Reepak Kansal seeking the court’s intervention for payment of Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia amount to the Covid victims’ families.

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