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SC asks the Center if the NDMA headed by the prime minister decided an ex gratia compensation to the families of the victims of Covid-19 | India News


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court asked the Center on Monday whether the NDMA, headed by the Prime Minister, has made the decision not to pay Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia to the families of Covid victims, noting that “to avoid burning stomach “among beneficiaries, you can consider drawing up a uniform compensation scheme.
The Center, which in its affidavit said that paying ex gratia compensation was beyond the fiscal affordability and finances of the central and state governments as they were under great pressure, told the high court, however, that it did not it was the case of the government that “has no money.”
“Our case is that we are using available funds for other things instead of using funds to build health infrastructure, ensure food for everyone, vaccinate the entire population and provide financial stimulus to boost the economy.
“You (Center) are right to clarify why saying that the Central Government has no money has very wide repercussions,” a special holiday bank of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah told Attorney General Tushar Mehta while reserving the verdict on two Pleas requesting ex-gratia compensation for the dependents of those who died from Covid-19.
Noting that the Finance Commission’s recommendations on how to deal with disasters cannot override the statutory compensation schemes under section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, the bank asked the Center “if the National Disaster Management Authority , chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has made a decision that no compensation should be awarded ex gratia ”.
Mehta referred to a decision made by the Interior Ministry, the nodal agency for disaster management, and said he was not aware of any such decision by the NDMA.
The higher court called the current process of issuing death certificates “prima facie more complicated” and asked the Center to “simplify” it to allow dependents of Covid victims to correct said certificates even after they are issued so that can take advantage of the benefits of wellness plans.
“Can it be said that a COVID-positive patient who was hospitalized will be issued a death certificate?” The bank asked.
“When humanity is gone and things like black marketing happen, what can you say? But our priority is the common man, ”the court said, asking the Attorney General to do whatever is necessary to ensure that the families of those who died from Covid obtain the proper death certificate and the provision to amend the reason for death should be in place. there.
Noting that states do not award uniform compensation to victims’ families, he asked if uniform guidelines on compensation can be framed in the law “otherwise there will be heartburn. Someone will get some money and others.”
The Center may consider having a uniform scheme under other provisions of the DMA, Mehta said.
The court, which asked the parties to submit written submissions within three days, took note of the fact that the Finance Commission has established the schemes for five years to address disasters, but said the recommendations cannot override one. legal obligation.
“The Finance Commission establishes the way in which the mitigation should be carried out and, therefore, the amounts are assigned. If the declaration is successful, then the allocation has to change … The Finance Commission’s focus is more on preparedness, mitigation and response … ”, said the Attorney General.
He said the issue of providing insurance coverage to those who work in crematoria was a “valid concern” as they are not currently covered and the Center will address this issue.
“Currently more than 22 lakh of healthcare workers are covered by the insurance plan,” Mehta said.
At first, the main defender SB Upadhyay, who appeared on behalf of a petitioner, referred to the legal scheme under the DMA and said that the government cannot accept the allegation that it will not have the compensation scheme due to financial constraints.
“The government is saying that this is not the type of disaster that the Law foresaw because other disasters are a single event and this Covid is recurrent … floods, tsunamis, cyclones are also recurring phenomena,” he said.
According to the law, the Center must have a compensation plan and the amount of Rs 4 lakh is not that important, Upadhyay said.
The bank said: “Every disaster is different. There can be large and small pandemics. Either a big flood or little food. If the standard or severity of a pandemic is higher, then it cannot be said that the same standard can be applied to all disasters. ”
On June 11, the Center had told the high court that the issues raised in the allegations, seeking instructions for ex gratia compensation of Rs 400,000 to the families of those who have died from Covid-19, are “genuine” and they are under consideration by the Government.
The higher court is hearing two separate pleadings brought by lawyers Reepak Kansal and Gaurav Kumar Bansal, respectively, seeking instructions for the Center and the states to provide compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the families of coronavirus victims as provided in the Law, and a uniform policy for issuing death certificates.

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