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NDMA mandated to provide ex-gratia to Covid victims: SC

The Supreme Court said by not providing ex-gratia amount, the NDMA has failed in discharging its statutory duty

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:06 PM, ummid.com News Network

SC on ex gratia for Covid victims

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is statutorily mandated to provide minimum standards of relief, which should include ex-gratia, for those who have succumbed to Covid.

A bench headed Justice Ashok Bhushan said by not providing ex-gratia amount, the NDMA has failed in discharging its statutory duty.

The bench, also comprising Justice M.R. Shah, directed NDMA to form guidelines for ex-gratia compensation for the family members of persons who died due to Covid as per the minimum standards of relief.

The top court emphasized that the guidelines should be put in place within six months.

"What reasonable amount to be provided is left to wisdom of national authority," said the bench, adding that it is not proper for the court to direct a particular amount of compensation.

The bench said the word used in Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act is as "shall" and is a mandatory one, and added to construe the word "shall" as "may" will defeat the purpose of the provision.

The bench added the death certificate issued for Covid patients should have simple guidelines, including the date and cause of death.

"There will be also facility for correcting the cause of death if family is not satisfied," added the bench.

The top court order came on PILs which were filed by advocates Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Reepak Kansal seeking court's intervention for payment of Rs four lakh ex-gratia and compensation amount to the Covid victims' families.

Bansal cited Section 12(iii) of the Disaster Management Act (DMA) providing for ex-gratia monetary compensation for the families of those who died during a notified disaster.

In the earlier hearing on the matter, the Narendra Modi government had said as the financial situation of the centre and states is under strain, providing any relief or compensation to Covid victims will not be possible.

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