NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday made ex-gratia compensation for Covid-19 mandatory for every death, irrespective of the virus mentioned as cause in the death certificate. It held that Covid cases not resolved and where person dies at home or in hospital will also be considered as death due to Covid-19.
“If a family satisfies the authority of cause of death as Covid-19, no state shall deny benefit of Rs 50,000 on the ground that cause of death is not mentioned as Covid-19 in the death certificate," held a bench of Justices Mukesh R Shah and AS Bopanna, while approving the Centre's submission of fixing Rs 50,000 to be paid to the next of kin of the deceased.
“Next of kin of the deceased shall be paid an amount of Rs 50,000 and it will be over and above the amounts paid by centre and state under various benevolent schemes,” the court said. “Covid-19 case for purposes of compensation is the one in which victims were diagnosed with Covid RT-PCR test in an outside clinic or an in-patient facility. This test should have been done within 30 days of the date of death,” the court clarified.
The order came on a plea for directions to the Centre and state governments to provide ex-gratia to the families of those who died of Covid-19 or post-Covid complications. It said the payment will have to be made from the State Disaster Relief Fund within 30 days of submitting application.
The order comes in the context of the court’s direction to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to form guidelines for payment of the ex-gratia compensation to families of persons as per minimum standard of relief, leaving it to the wisdom of the authority to fix the reasonable amount. The Centre had fixed Rs 50,000 for every victim as the compensation in an affidavit filed last month.
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