Reepak Kansal v Union of India and others
Writ Petition (Civil) No. 554 OF 2021, Decided on June 30, 2021.
BENCH– ASHOK BHUSHAN, M.R. SHAH, JJ.
In the present case, the two petitioners had sought the courts direction to the respondents Central/State Governments providing ex gratia monetary compensation of Rs. 4 lacs or notified ex gratia monetary compensation to the families of the deceased who have succumbed to the pandemic of Covid-19, in lieu of Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (hereinafter referred to as ‘DMA 2005’). Further the petitioners also demanded an appropriate direction to the respondent to issue any official document stating the cause of death, to the family members of the deceased who die due to Covid-19.
The Supreme Court directing the respondent State/Central government to provide ex gratia assistance on account of loss of life to the family members of the persons who died due to Covid-19 held that:-
1) the National Disaster Management Authority directed to recommend guidelines for ex gratia assistance on account of loss of life to the family members of the persons who died due to Covid-19, as mandated under Section 12(iii) of DMA 2005 for the minimum standards of relief to be provided to the persons affected by disaster – Covid 19 Pandemic, over and above the guidelines already recommended for the minimum standards of relief to be provided to persons affected by Covid-19. However, what reasonable amount to be offered towards ex gratia assistance is left to the wisdom of National Authority which may consider determining the amount taking into consideration the observations made hereinabove, such as, requirement/availability of the fund under the NDRF/SDRF for other reliefs and the priorities determined by the National Authority/Union Government and the fund required for other minimum standards of relief and fund required for prevention, preparedness, mitigation and recovery and other reliefs to carry out the obligation under DMA 2005. The aforesaid exercise and appropriate guidelines be recommended, as directed hereinabove, within a period of six weeks from today;
2) The Appropriate Authority is directed to issue simplified guidelines for issuance of Death Certificates/official document stating the exact cause of death, i.e., “Death due to Covid-19”, to the family members of the deceased who died due to Covid-19. While issuing such guidelines, the observations made hereinabove in paragraph 13 be borne in mind. Such guidelines may also provide the remedy to the family members of the deceased who died due to Covid-19 for correction of the death certificate/official document issued by the appropriate authority, if they are not satisfied with the cause of death mentioned in the death certificate/official document issued by the appropriate authority; and
3) The Union of India to take appropriate steps on the recommendations made by the Finance Commission in its XVth Finance Commission Report in consultation with other stakeholders and experts.