18 Nov 2021 12:21 PM GMT
The Supreme Court on Thursday rapped Gujarat Government for issuing a notification dated October 29, 2021 as per which a Scrutiny Committee was constituted for granting ex-gratia compensation to COVID victims.The Court observed that the constitution of the scrutiny committee was an attempt to overreach the directions in the judgment delivered on October 4 in the case Gaurav Kumar...
The Supreme Court on Thursday rapped Gujarat Government for issuing a notification dated October 29, 2021 as per which a Scrutiny Committee was constituted for granting ex-gratia compensation to COVID victims.
The Court observed that the constitution of the scrutiny committee was an attempt to overreach the directions in the judgment delivered on October 4 in the case Gaurav Kumar Bansal versus Union of India, where a slew of directions were issued regarding the procedure for issue of death certificates and disbursal of compensation to COVID victims.
The bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna in their order said, "It appears that an attempt has been made to overreach the directions issued by this Court."
The bench also directed petitioner's counsel to serve a copy of the application to the Solicitor General to enable him to take remedial steps and come out with a clear and simplified formula/notification so that the amount of compensation as ordered by the Court is paid to the victim at the earliest and without any further harassment.
"The notification/circular must be in accordance with the directions issued by this Court in its order dated 04.10.2021. Any deviation shall be viewed very seriously," the bench further added.
Adding that the directions issued by the Court for payment of compensation to the family members of the persons who died due to COVID-19 were very clear, the bench observed that there was no requirement at all of constituting the Scrutiny Committee for the purpose of awarding the compensation.
"The direction was to constitute the Grievance Redressal Committee in case the compensation is not paid and the family members are aggrieved and/or they are aggrieved with respect to the death certificate issued. There was no direction at all for the purpose of constituting a Scrutiny Committee for the purpose of issuing certificates for getting the compensation," the bench in its order further said.
Remarking that its direction was very clear that the amount of compensation was to be paid on production of the RT-PCR certificate and the death certificate showing that the death had occurred within 30 days, the bench said that there was no further requirement at all.
"It was very much made clear that even in a case where in the death certificate the cause is not shown as death due to COVID but if found that the deceased was declared positive with COVID-19 and he has died within 30 days, automatically, his/her family members are entitled to the compensation without any further conditions. No further condition and/or requirement is provided. Still, such a notification has been issued without application of mind which can be said to be over-reaching the directions issued by this Court. Even the procedure for compensation should be simplified and the form should be very simple and should not be clumsy," bench noted in its order.
In the October 4 judgment, the Supreme Court had approved the ex-gratia compensation of Rs.50,000 for the kin of COVID victims as recommended by the National Disaster Management Authority.
Case Title: Gaurav Kumar Bansal v Union of India| Miscellaneous Application No. 1805/2021 in W.P.(C) No. 539/2021
Click here to read/download the order