NEW DELHI: "Will steps be taken after the third COVID wave is over," an annoyed Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre over the delay in framing the guidelines for COVID-19 relief and fixed September 13 for further hearing.
The court was angry over the delay in framing guidelines for issue of death certificates and compensation to kin of those who died due to Covid-19.
"The order was passed long back. When will steps be taken? After the third wave? The order on a death certificate, compensation, etc. was passed long back,’’ Justice Mukesh R Shah snapped at Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who assured that everything is under consideration.
Justice Shah is heading a Bench that also comprises Justice Aniruddha Bose.
Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, who has filed the petition on behalf of the victims' families, opposed the plea for more time, pointing out that the court had already granted a 4-week extension to the Centre on August 16.
Advocate Sumeer Sodhi, appearing for some other petitioners, said the Centre is seeking extensions since June 30, even while the order passed on that date is nearing the date of its compliance.
On June 30, the top court had directed the National Disaster Management Authority to recommend within six weeks appropriate guidelines for ex gratia assistance to the family members of persons who died due to Covid-19. The top court had also ordered steps to simplify guidelines for issuance and correction of death certificates/official documents, stating the exact cause of death, that is, ''Death due to COVID-19", for enabling the dependents to get benefits of welfare schemes.
The ruling had come on two separate pleas filed by lawyers Reepak Kansal and Gaurav Kumar Bansal, seeking directions to the Centre and the states to provide Rs 4 lakh compensation to the families of coronavirus victims as provisioned under the Disaster Management Act.
The court had, however, steered clear of the compensation of Rs 4 lakh sought under the Act, leaving it up to the NDMA to decide, saying there was a need to focus simultaneously on prevention, preparedness, mitigation and recovery, which calls for a different order of mobilization of both financial and technical resources.
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