Compensation must be given to families of Covid victims, frame guidelines within 6 weeks: SC directs Centre

The court said that the guidelines will have to be implemented within six months.

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Directing the Centre to frame guidelines to pay ex-gratia to families of those who succumb to Coronavirus, the Supreme Court in its order said that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will have to make guidelines for payment as it rejected the Centre's appeal that "no such ex gratia can be paid". 

The court said that the guidelines will have to be implemented within six months. 

The top court stated: "We direct NDMA to form guidelines for ex gratia compensation for family members of persons who succumbed to covid as per minimum standards of relief. The reasonable amount to be provided is left to the wisdom of national authority.”

Upholding that the order under Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act to lay down guidelines for minimum standards of relief including payment of ex gratia assistance, is mandatory and not an option. 

Also Read: Can't pay Rs 4L compensation to Covid victims, Centre tells SC

The court further noted that if the National Authority has failed to do under the 12 of the act.

It also asked the centre to issue appropriate guidelines to simplify the issue of death certificates in cases relating to deaths occurring due to covid complications. 

The NDMA is lawfully mandated to give a minimum standard of relief, including ex-gratia, to the victims of Covid-19. 

"By not providing an ex-gratia amount, the NDMA has failed in discharging its statutory duty," said the court’s order.

India has reported almost 3.9 lakh fatalities due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which has been under the DM Act declared a disaster.  

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Earlier, the apex court was told by the Central government that granting an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the families of those persons who died od Covid will not be possible because the state governments and the Centre are under severe financial pressure.