19 Jan 2022 5:34 AM GMT
Lashing out at the States of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar for not complying with the directions to pay ex-gratia compensation to the kin of persons who succumbed to COVID-19, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Chief Secretaries of both the States to remain appear before it virtually at 2 PM today.A bench comprising Justice MR Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna observed that the Cheif...
Lashing out at the States of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar for not complying with the directions to pay ex-gratia compensation to the kin of persons who succumbed to COVID-19, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Chief Secretaries of both the States to remain appear before it virtually at 2 PM today.
A bench comprising Justice MR Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna observed that the Cheif Secretaries should show-cause why contempt action should not be taken against them for non-compliance.
The bench passed the following observations with respect to Andhra Pradesh.
"It is very unfortunate that despite earlier direction to pay compensation to the kin/family member of the person who died due to COVID-19 and time and again directions are issued…Total callousness on part of the State of Andhra Pradesh. Against 14471 cases recorded after an earlier order passed by this court approximately 36,000 claims were received. Unfortunately, according to the Counsel approx 31,000 application are found to be in order, but only 11,000 claimants have been made payment. It appears the state is not at all serious in compliance with the orders of this court and directions issued from time to time. There is no justification for not making payment to the people. Not making payment to eligible claimants would tantamount to disobedience of our earlier order…for which the Chief Secretary is liable for action under Contempt of Courts Act. Let the Chief Secretary remain present virtually at 2 o'clock today and show cause why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him…"
As regards Bihar, the bench was not ready to accept its stand that only 12,000 people have died due to COVID.
"You don't even update data…According to you only 12,000 have died. We want real facts. In all other states the number have increased after our previous order except in Bihar", Justice Shah observed.
"Call your Chief Secretary to remain present. We are not ready to accept that only 12000 had died in Bihar", Justice Shah asked Bihar's counsel.
The Bench is also verifying the statistics of other States. The matter will be heard at 2 PM today. The Bench said that is thinking of passing directions to the State Legal Services Authorities to intervene in States where the number of applications are less than the number of deaths registered.
The bench was considering the case Gaurav Kumar Bansal versus Union of India, in which it is monitoring the disbursal of ex-gratia for COVID-19 deaths. Earlier, the bench had directed the States to give wide publicity to the application process in print, electronic and social media so that the families of victims are made aware of the compensation scheme.
The Supreme Court has approved the compensation amount of Rs 50,000 for COVID deaths as recommended by the National Disaster Management Authority.
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