The Supreme Court consisting of a special vacation bench on Monday reserved verdict on the pleas seeking directions that ex-gratia compensation of Rs. 4 lakhs be paid to the families of those who have died of Covid 19.
The special vacation bench was composed of Justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah. Both the justices heard Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and senior advocate S B Upadhyay and other lawyers for almost two hours.
The apex court then asked the parties to file written submissions in three days and specifically directed the Centre to simplify the process of grant of death certificates to the dependents of those who have died of Covid 19.
Supreme Court’s vacation bench reserves its judgment on petitions seeking direction to authorities concerned, to provide ex gratia of Rs 4 lakhs to the family members of the deceased who succumbed to COVID. The Court completed the hearing in the case and reserved the verdict. pic.twitter.com/QD5tGYZsTo
— ANI (@ANI) June 21, 2021
Centre had earlier told the apex court that the ex-gratia compensation of Rs 4 lakhs cannot be paid to the families of those who have died of Covid 19 as the finances of state governments and the Centre are under severe strain.
In an affidavit filed before the top court, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs stated that the Centre submitted that it has by ways of ‘Minimum Standard Relief’ under section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, taken several steps providing for substantial and speedy measures by way of, increase in the health, infrastructure, ensuring food safety to every citizen.
However, one of the petitioners, advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, argued that under section 12(iii) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, every family whose member died due to disaster is entitled for ex-gratia compensation of Rs Four lakhs.
He had argued that Covid 19 had been declared a disaster. As per the order dated April 8, 2015, every family whose member dies due to disaster is entitled for ex-gratia compensation of Rs. Four lakhs.
The counsel, appearing for another petitioner Reepak Kansal, had argued that a large number of deaths were taking place due to Covid 19 and death certificates need to be issued, as only after that the affected family members can claim compensation under section 12 (iii) of the Act.
In his plea, Kansal has said that states should be directed to fulfil their obligation to take care of victims of Covid 19 and also their family members.