Supreme Court dismisses plea seeking uniform ex gratia for COVID warriors
New Delhi: Considering that the decision to order a uniform ex gratia to kin of those who died of Covid-19 has financial implications and were best left to the executive, the Supreme court recently dismissed a plea seeking an emergency relief plan for thousands affected by the loss of kin to the pandemic.A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and RS Reddy dismissed the plea saying that every state...
New Delhi: Considering that the decision to order a uniform ex gratia to kin of those who died of Covid-19 has financial implications and were best left to the executive, the Supreme court recently dismissed a plea seeking an emergency relief plan for thousands affected by the loss of kin to the pandemic.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and RS Reddy dismissed the plea saying that every state has a different policy and gives compensation as per its financial power.
Advocate Deepak Prakash, appearing for petitioner Hashik Thayikandy, submitted that all he is asking for is a national policy to be formulated that would provide for uniform compensation throughout the country. So many people have died in India due to COVID-19 and the victims are not getting equal compensation, he added.
Prakash stated that in some cases, the Delhi government has given Rs one crore as compensation, while some states are giving Rs one lakh. There is no uniform policy on compensation, he said. The petitioner has also sought a direction to the Centre as well as state governments to formulate an appropriate "compensation plan" to provide ex-gratia monetary compensation to the kin of essential workers and healthcare workers who have succumbed to COVID-19.
Urging the court to seek a status report from state governments on the total number of COVID-19-related causalities and measures taken by authorities for compensating for the loss of life due to the coronavirus pandemic, the petition claimed that a majority of the country's population belonging to financially weaker sections, wherein only one person is an earning member and others in the family are solely depend on that income for their sustenance, reports PTI.
."The said citizens are also the taxpayers of our country. In such a structure, whereby the death rate is only increasing at an alarming rate per day, it is imperative for the state to formulate appropriate guidelines, on compassionate grounds, for ex-gratia compensation to families of the COVID-19 casualties, especially for frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, etc., solely to aid the families for their basic survival and sustenance during this pandemic," the plea mentioned.
Pertinently, "the death of an Indian citizen not only impacts his/her own personal life", but it affects the lives of all the members of the family who were dependent "on the sole source of income", it added.
The petitioner further submitted that "In the event of a death of such a family member and while regarding the huge unemployment which COVID-19 has encompassed globally, the dependents are with no finances for survival, the plea." It claimed that the death rate due to COVID-19 is exponentially increasing with each passing hour, especially in cases of frontline workers such as police officials, doctors, paramedical staff, government employees, journalists, thereby rendering the family of the deceased in an extremely vulnerable position.
"Till date, COVID-19 has no cure/vaccine and has been declared as a notified 'disaster', thus, it is the duty of the State, on compassionate grounds, to provide relief to its citizens by adequately compensating the kin of the deceased to financially assist the families thereof, who are in an extremely vulnerable and helpless position, having suffered due to the outbreak of this deadly virus," mentioned the plea.
However, after considering the submissions the court stated that all the states have different policies regarding compensation, and the formulation of a unified policy will not be possible. Subsequently, the court dismissed the plea.
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