New Delhi, Jun 30 (UNI): In a major relief to the families whose members succumbed to COVID-19, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to frame guidelines for payment of compensation within six weeks.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, in its judgment, said that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) must issue guidelines on ex-gratia.
The order came on the back of two separate petitions seeking Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia for families of all Covid victims, since the disease was declared a ‘disaster’ under Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The bench rejected the Centre’s argument that Section 12 was not a mandatory provision, asserting that Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act recommends minimum relief for the victims of a national disaster.
However, the top court observed that it cannot direct an amount that the Centre will have to pay.
The Court also said that death certificates issued should have the date and cause of death such as Coronavirus.
Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had apprised the top court that an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh would not be possible as “resources of the government have limits” citing increased health expenses and low tax revenue.