Centre also added that denying compensation for diseases other than Covid would be "unfair"
Centre also added that denying compensation for diseases other than Covid would be "unfair"
(PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Families of Covid victims cannot be paid a compensation of ₹ 4 lakh as it applies to natural disasters only, the government told the Supreme Court today adding that states cannot afford to pay every victim. In a 183-page affidavit, the Centre also added that denying compensation for diseases other than Covid would be "unfair".

The Centre added that the deadly disease has caused more than 3.85 lakh deaths - which is likely to increase - and states, reeling under severe financial strain, cannot pay everyone. The government's response comes after the Supreme Court asked it to inform its policy on Covid compensation and death certificates after a plea asked for ₹ 4 lakh for victims.

Explaining that the Disaster Management Law states that compensation applies only to natural disasters like earthquake or floods, the government said that due to the pandemic's massive scale it would not be appropriate to apply it to Covid.

The Centre in its affidavit also said due to increased health expenses and low tax revenue states cannot afford to pay compensation for lakhs of Covid victims.

"Utilisation of scarce resources for giving ex-gratia, may have unfortunate consequences of affecting the pandemic response and health expenditure in other aspects and hence cause more damage than good," the Centre added in its affidavit.

The government also reminded the top court of its earlier judgment to keep away from executive policies and said the judiciary cannot decide on behalf of the Centre.

The affidavit also said that "Covid death" will be mentioned in death certificates of every victim. Doctors who fail to certify Covid deaths will be penalised, the government said.

The Supreme Court will hear the case on Monday.

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