New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday appreciated the Centre’s step to grant ex-gratia assistance to the kin of those who died due to COVID-19 saying it has to take judicial notice of the fact that what India has done, no other country has been able to do.
“We are happy that something has been done to wipe the tears of many families,” apex court said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Centre said, “We cannot repair the loss of life but whatever the country could do for the families who have suffered, is being done.”
The NDMA has recommended that Rs 50,000 be given to the kin of those who died of COVID-19, the Centre had informed the top court on Wednesday. The ex-gratia assistance will be provided by states from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
A bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna, which took on record two affidavits filed by the Centre, said it will pass orders on October 4 with some directions, authorising the grievance redressal committees at district level to call for hospital records of the deceased, in case of any dispute over issuance of death certificate.
“We are happy that there will be some solace to the persons who have suffered. It will wipe the tears of many families. We must take judicial notice of the fact despite so many problems of population and overpopulation, something has been done. What India has done, no other country has been able to do,” the bench said.
The top court was hearing a batch of pleas filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal and some intervenors who lost their family members to COVID-19.
At the outset, the top court raised some concern as to what will happen if hospitals do not mention the cause of death as COVID-19, despite the person losing his life due to post COVID complications.
Mehta said the next of kin can approach the district level committee, to be constituted under the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) guidelines, for redressal of grievances over the issuance of death certificate.
The bench said, “Sometimes hospitals behave like a monarch and don’t give medical records to the family members or hand over the dead bodies to them. We have to take care of those people also.”
Such family members of the COVID-19 victims can also approach the committee which can call for the hospital records, Mehta said.
The bench said it will pass orders authorising such committees to call for hospital records of patients, if needed.
Mehta said the next of the kin of the deceased can show to the committee some evidence like RT-PCR test report to show that the patient was COVID positive before his death in case the hospital does not mention the cause of death.