States Have Not Given Publicity To Covid Death Compensation Scheme: SC Directs States To File Compliance Report
In the context of the ex-gratia compensation of Rs. 50,000 for Covid-19 victims, a Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justice MR Shah and Justice BV Nagarathna, on Monday, called for details from states regarding compliance of its order dated October 4, 2021.
The Court observed that a lower number of applications have been received by the States as enough publicity had not been given to its judgment, to inform the people about their right to claim the compensation.
The Bench was hearing an application filed by Advocate Amit Panchal challenging the notification issued by the State of Gujarat for granting compensation to the families of the Corona victims on the ground that it was not in consonance with the Supreme Court order.
In the case of Gaurav Kumar Bansal Vs. Union of India, the Supreme Court had asked all the states to provide compensation to the kin of the persons who died due to Corona. During the previous hearings, the Bench asked the Gujarat Government to rectify its notification regarding compensation and directed the Union of India to submit the compliance report for its order after collecting details from the states.
"An additional affidavit dated 27.11.2021 has been filed on behalf of the Union of India pointing out the data collected from all the States. Ongoing through the data collected by the Union of India produced along with the additional affidavit, it appears that in many of the States, number of forms / claims received is on a much lower side," the Bench stated in its order on November 28.
The Bench then marked the details of the states where a lower number of applications were received for getting the compensation. It was attributed to a lack of publicity.
"It can be said that either there is no wide publicity given by the concerned States with respect to the compensation offered for the death of a person who has died due to Covid 19 or the concerned claimants are not made aware where to apply," it observed. The Bench also took note that a few states have not furnished data to the Union of India as directed by it.
The Bench then sought the following particulars from states:-
1. Whether directions issued in the judgment and order dated 04.10.2021 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 554 of 2021 have been fully and duly implemented or not;
2. The procedure to be followed for inviting the applications and the format of the application for compensation;
3. Number of deaths recorded;
4. Claim forms received so far;
5. Number of claimants/persons to whom the amount of compensation has been paid/disbursed;
6. Whether any Grievance Redressal Committee in each district has been constituted or not, which is required to be constituted as per the directions issued in the judgment and order dated 04.10.2021;
7. Whether any wide publicity has been given with respect to the scheme for compensation and the application to be made to which authority and the full particulars of the office to whom the application is to be made so that compensation can be received; and
8. Whether any exclusive online portal for the purpose of 5 inviting applications and for disbursal of amount of compensation has been created or not.
"The aforesaid particulars shall be supplied by all the States to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Union of India/NDMA on or before 3 rd December, 2021. The status report on the aforesaid aspects shall also be filed by the concerned States, as observed hereinabove, on or before the next date of hearing," the Bench directed while posting the matter for hearing on December 6.
Meanwhile, the Court expresses satisfaction that the notification issued by the Gujarat Government simplifies the compensation and observed that a similar procedure should be followed pan India.
"Having gone through the fresh Resolution dated 28.11.2021 of the State of Gujarat, barring the aforesaid aspect, as such, we are satisfied with the said Resolution now and even the same can be made applicable PAN India. GR dated 28.11.2021 issued by the Gujarat Government to provide financial assistance to the family members/successors of the persons that died due to Covid-19 in other States shall be passed after hearing the concerned States so that the procedure for compensation can be followed PAN India uniformly," the Bench stated.