Supreme Court rejects plea seeking ex-gratia, says ‘courts can’t presume all deaths during second COVID wave due to negligence’

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Updated: September 08, 2021 2:50 PM

The remark came as the top court refused to entertain a plea seeking compensation for the kin of the victims by treating it as medical negligence.

The remark came as the top court refused to entertain a plea seeking compensation for the kin of the victims by treating it as medical negligence.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday noted that courts cannot presume that all deaths during the second wave of COVID-19 happened due to negligence. The remark came as the top court refused to entertain a plea seeking compensation for the kin of the victims by treating it as medical negligence.

“To assume that each death due to COVID-19 took place due to negligence is too much. The second wave had such an impact across the country that it cannot be presumed that all deaths happened due to negligence. Courts cannot have a presumption that all Covid deaths happened due to medical negligence, which your petition does,” the bench Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli asked the petitioner Deepak Raj Singh said while asking the petitioner to approach the concerned authorities with his suggestions.

The bench referred to its June 30 order in which it directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to recommend appropriate guidelines for ex-gratia assistance on account of loss of life to the family members of persons, who died due to COVID-19.

“In that verdict the court has taken a view with regard to humanity and not due to negligence. The government is yet to come out with the policy. If you have any suggestion with regard to implementation of that policy, you can approach the competent authority,” the bench said.

Advocate Sriram Parakat, appearing for the petitioner, contended that the petition is different and highlights the medical negligence and seeks compensation for those who lost their lives due to that.

On this, the court said the petition was filed in May and since these many developments have taken place. It also told the petitioner it took suo moto congnisance of the COVID preparedness and also constituted a National Task Force.

The bench further told Parakat that, “It was such a wave that it affected the entire country” and the court cannot make a general presumption of medical negligence.

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