The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up state governments for failing to disburse claims to the next of kin of COVID-19 victims, and summoned Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar for non-payment of ex-gratia compensation to the kin of the victims of COVID-19 despite the earlier orders of the court.
The top court asked the chief secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar government to remain present virtually at 2 PM and explain why the disbursals of ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000 for COVID-19 death are less in their states.
It said Chief Secretaries should show-cause why contempt action should not be taken against them for non-compliance.
The apex court also took into note that in Kerala as against 49,000 COVID-19 deaths, only 27,000 claims have been received. "Every state has received more applications, why not yours?" asked the Bench from the counsel appearing for Kerala.
Kerala's counsel said that for those deaths registered with the state, payment will be made in a week.
The Bench also said that it will pass an order that wherever applications received are less than State registered COVID-19 deaths, in that case, State Legal Services Authority through District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) will share data of all such registered deaths with the Centre and DLSA can act as ombudsman.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by lawyer-cum-petitioner, Gaurav Kumar Bansal, seeking an ex-gratia compensation for those family members, who died due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, the top court had approved the Centre's disaster management guidelines on payment of Rs 50,000 ex-gratia compensation to the next kin of those who died of Covid-19 and said the money is to be disbursed within 30 days of applying.
(With inputs ANI and PTI)