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Supreme Court To Hear Tomorrow Plea Seeking Ex Gratia Compensation To Victims Of Post Covid Diseases Like Black Fungus

Srishti Ojha
29 Jun 2021 11:44 AM GMT
Supreme Court To Hear Tomorrow Plea Seeking Ex Gratia Compensation To Victims Of Post Covid Diseases Like Black Fungus
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Supreme Court will hear tomorrow a plea filed seeking directions to Centre and State Governments to provide ex gratia monetary compensation of Rs. 4 lacs or notified ex gratia monetary compensation to the families of deceased who have succumbed to side effects or post COVID-19 decease including Black Fungus, White Fungus & Yellow Fungus etc.A three-Judge Bench of Justice Ashok...

Supreme Court will hear tomorrow a plea filed seeking directions to Centre and State Governments to provide ex gratia monetary compensation of Rs. 4 lacs or notified ex gratia monetary compensation to the families of deceased who have succumbed to side effects or post COVID-19 decease including Black Fungus, White Fungus & Yellow Fungus etc.

A three-Judge Bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice Vineet Saran and Justice MR Shah adjourned the case today, saying it will hear the case tomorrow.

The Bench was hearing the plea filed by Advocate Reepak Kansal through Advocate Harisha SR, which has also sought direction to State Governments to fulfil their obligation to take care of victims of the calamity and their family members.

While highlighting that there are several States which have notified Mucormycosis or Black Fungus as notified disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, the petitioner has argued that the entire benefits or ex—gratia compensation for patients of COVID 19 should also be extended to the patients of post COVID 19 disease like black fungus, yellow fungus and white fungus etc.

It may be noted that the Apex Court on June 21st reserved its judgment in the pleas filed seeking ex gratia monetary compensation of Rs. 4 lacs or notified ex gratia monetary compensation to the families of deceased who have succumbed to the pandemic of COVID-19.

Centre's Affidavit: In an Affidavit filed recently, the Union of India informed the Supreme Court that payment of ex-gratia to all deceased persons due to COVID-19, is beyond the fiscal affordability of the State Governments, as the finances of State Governments and the Central Government are under severe strain, due to the reduction in tax revenues and increase in health expenses on account of the pandemic.

"It is an unfortunate but important fact that the resources of the Governments have limits and any additional burden through ex-gratia will reduce the funds available for other health and welfare schemes." Centre has said

While highlighting that ex-gratia relief under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to 12 notified disasters is provided through the State Disaster Response Fund, MHA has submitted that if an ex-gratia of Rs.4 lakhs is given for every person, who loses life due to COVID-19, the entire amount of SDRF may possibly be spent on this item alone.

MHA has also argued that the matter of ex-gratia assistance should be dealt with by the National Authority to whom it has been entrusted under Disaster Management Act, and any attempt to second guess that may create unintended and unfortunate Constitutional and administrative ramifications.

Further, MHA has stated that there is no precedent of giving ex- gratia for an ongoing disease or for any disaster event of long duration, extending for several months or years, and granting ex-gratia for one disease, while denying the same for those accounting for larger share of mortality, would not be fair and would create unfairness and invidious discrimination.

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