SC approves Rs 50,000 compensation to kin of Covid victims; claims must be settled in 30 days

By: |
October 05, 2021 3:00 AM

A bench led by Justice MR Shah said this compensation, which will include past and future deaths related to the virus, will be over and above existing schemes of state governments and the Centre.

Covid DelhiIf the death certificate does not cite the cause of death as Covid-19, aggrieved parties may approach the officials concerned of the district committee

The Supreme Court on Monday approved the government’s proposal of paying Rs 50,000 to the next of kin of those who died due to Covid-19.

A bench led by Justice MR Shah said this compensation, which will include past and future deaths related to the virus, will be over and above existing schemes of state governments and the Centre.

While ordering that the claims need to be settled within 30 days of the documents being submitted, the judges said no state government should deny the compensation on the ground that cause of death on the death certificate is not Covid-19. The compensation will be disbursed by state governments from their disaster relief funds.

“No state shall deny the Rs 50,000 benefit on the ground that cause of death in death certificate is not Covid-19. The district authorities will take remedial steps to have the cause of death corrected,” it ruled.

If the death certificate does not cite the cause of death as Covid-19, aggrieved parties may approach the officials concerned of the district committee, consisting of additional district collector, chief medical officer of health (CMOH), additional CMOH/ principal or HOD medicine of a medical college (if one exists in the district), and a subject expert.

The committee shall take remedial measures, including issuance of an amended official document for Covid-19 death, after verifying the facts on production of the necessary documents showing that the death is due to Covid-19, the bench, which also included Justice AS Bopanna, said while passing the order.

In case the decision of the committee is not in favour of the claimant, a clear reason for it shall be recorded by the grievance redressal committee, it said.

All states shall constitute such a committee within one week from Monday and the address and particulars of the committee at the district level shall be published in print and electronic media with wide circulation, the court said.

As per the new rules, any death within 30 days of being diagnosed Covid-19 positive will be treated as a Covid-19 death, even if it occurs outside a hospital or medical facility.

The National Disaster Management Authority, which has been directed to issue guidelines to states/ Union territories to implement the SC’s directions, had recommended the monetary compensation of Rs 50,000 for each past and future death to the next of kin. The government had said ex-gratia assistance will also be given to the kin of those who died of the virus due to involvement in Covid-19 relief operations or activities associated with the preparedness for dealing with the pandemic.

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