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Ex-Gratia For COVID Deaths, Death Certificates, Grievance Redressal : Supreme Court Issues Slew Of Directions

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
4 Oct 2021 1:57 PM GMT
Ex-Gratia For COVID Deaths, Death Certificates, Grievance Redressal : Supreme Court Issues Slew Of Directions
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The Supreme Court on Monday issued a slew of directions in relation to the grant of ex-gratia compensation to the family of COVID victims and issuance of death certificates.A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna issued the directions approving the guidelines framed by the National Disaster Management Authority and the Central Government. The guidelines were framed pursuant to...

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a slew of directions in relation to the grant of ex-gratia compensation to the family of COVID victims and issuance of death certificates.

A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna issued the directions approving the guidelines framed by the National Disaster Management Authority and the Central Government. The guidelines were framed pursuant to the directions issued by the Court in its judgment delivered on June 30.

The following are the latest directions issued by the Court in this case(Gaurav Kumar Bansal v. Union of India).

Ex-gratia of Rs 50,000 to kin of persons who died of COVID

i) The next of the kin of the deceased died due to Covid-19 shall be paid ex-gratia assistance of an amount of Rs.50,000/-, which shall be treated as ex-gratia payment under Section 12(iii) of the DMA, 2005 and which shall be minimum and which shall be over and above the compensation/amount to be paid by the Union of India/State Governments/Union Territories to be declared/provided under different benevolent schemes;

ii) The ex-gratia assistance of Rs. 50,000/- shall be provided by the concerned States from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF);

iii) The ex-gratia assistance to the next of the kin of the deceased shall be disbursed by the District Disaster Management Authority/District Administration;

Publicity be given about authorities disbursing ex-gratia

iv) The full particulars and address of the District Disaster Management Authority/District Administration who is required to disburse the ex-gratia assistance of Rs. 50,000/- shall be published in the Print Media and Electronic Media and wide publicity shall be given; that the same shall be published within a period of one week from today; it is further directed that such information shall also be published in the prominent offices of the village/taluk/district, such as, Gram Panchayat Office, Taluk Panchayat Office, District Collector Office, Corporation Office etc.;

v) Such ex-gratia assistance of Rs. 50,000/- shall be disbursed within a period of 30 days from the date of submitting the application to the concerned District Disaster Management Authority/District Administration along with the proof of the death of the deceased due to Covid-19 and the cause of death being certified as "Died due to Covid-19";

vi) The amount to be disbursed as per the Guidelines dated 11.09.2021 and as observed hereinabove on the death being certified as Covid-19 death for which the cause of death mentioned in the death certificate shall not be the conclusive and if other documents are provided as discussed hereinbelow, the next kin of the deceased died due to Covid-19 shall be entitled to the ex-gratia assistance of Rs. 50,000/-;

vii) No States shall deny the ex-gratia assistance of Rs.50,000/- to the next of the kin of the deceased died due to Covid-19 solely on the ground that in the death certificate issued by the appropriate authority, the cause of death is not mentioned as "Died due to Covid-19";

Composition of Grievance Redressal Committee

viii) In case of any grievance with regard to certification of the death, the aggrieved person may approach the Committee at District level consisting of Additional District Collector, Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), Additional CMOH/Principal or HOD Medicine of a Medical College (if one existing in the district) and a subject expert, who shall take remedial measures including issuance of amended official document for Covid-19 death after verifying the facts on production of the necessary documents showing that the death is due to Covid-19;

ix) The Authority/Committee shall carry out the directions as mentioned hereinbelow while considering the case of the deceased as Covid-19. All the States shall constitute such Committee within a period of one week from today and the address location and full particulars of the said Committee at the District level shall be published in Print Media and Electronic Media having wide circulation; so far as the Corporation area is concerned, a similar Committee be constituted consisting the Deputy Commissioner, Medical/Health, the Chief Medical Officer of Health of the Civil Hospital in the area, if any, Additional CMOH/Principal/HOD Medicine of a Medical College (if one existing in the district) and a subject expert and their office shall be at the office of the Municipal Corporation of the concerned municipality;

x) it is further directed that in case the decision of the Committee is not in favour of the claimant, a clear reason for the same shall be recorded by the Committee which is called a Grievance Redressal Committee;

xi) as agreed, and as per the Guidelines, the ex-gratia assistance to the families affected by Covid-19 deaths shall continue to be provided for deaths that may occur in future phases of Covid-19 as well.

What are COVID cases?

i) Covid-19 cases, for the purpose of considering the deaths of the deceased due to Covid-19, are those which are diagnosed through a positive RT-PCR/Molecular Tests/RAT or clinically determined through investigations in a hospital/in-patient facility by a treating physician, while admitted in the hospital/in-patient facility;

ii) The deaths occurring within 30 days from the date of testing or from the date of being clinically determined as a Covid-19 case shall be treated as "Deaths due to Covid-19", even if the death takes place outside the hospital/in-patient facility;

iii) Also, the Covid-19 case while admitted in the hospital/in-patient facility and who continued to be admitted beyond 30 days and died subsequently shall also be treated as a Covid-19 death;

iv) Covid-19 cases which are not resolved and have died either in the hospital settings or at home, and where a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) in Form 4 & 4A has been issued to the registering authority, as required under Section 10 of the Registration of Birth & Death (RBD) Act, 1969, shall also be treated as Covid-19 death.

Ex-gratia not to be refused on sole ground that COVID is not stated as cause of death in death certificate:

However, it is observed and made clear that irrespective of the cause of death mentioned in the death certificate, if a family member satisfies the eligibility criteria mentioned in paragraphs 11(i) to 11(iv) as above shall also be entitled to the ex-gratia payment of Rs. 50,000/- on production of requisite documents as observed hereinabove, and no State shall deny the ex-gratia payment of Rs. 50,000/- on the ground that in the death certificate the cause of death is not mentioned as "Died due to Covid-19";

Hospitals should furnish necessary documents

v) All concerned hospitals where the patient was admitted and given treatment shall provide all the necessary documents of treatment etc. to the family member of the deceased, as and when demanded, and if any hospital and/or the place where the deceased had taken treatment refuses to furnish such documents, it will be open for the Grievance Redressal Committee to call for such information and the concerned hospital/institution where the deceased was admitted shall have to furnish such particulars as required for the purpose of establishing that the death was due to Covid-19;

COVID patients who die by suicide also covered under ex-gratia

vi) A family member of the deceased who committed suicide within 30 days from being diagnosed as Covid-19 positive shall also be entitled to avail the financial help/ex-gratia assistance of Rs. 50,000/- as granted under the SDRF in accordance with the guidelines dated 11.09.2021 issued by the NDMA under Section 12(iii) of DMA, 2005, as directed hereinabove;

Denial of ex-gratia can be raised before Greivance Redressal Committee

vii) If any family member/kin of the deceased died due to Covid0-19 has any grievance with respect to non-receipt of the ex-gratia payment of Rs. 50,000/-, it will be open for the aggrieved claimant to approach the Grievance Redressal Committee constituted as observed hereinabove, and the Grievance Redressal Committee shall examine the contemporaneous medical record of the deceased patient, and take a decision within a period of 30 days from approaching the said Grievance Redressal Committee and as observed hereinabove such Grievance Redressal Committee shall have powers to call for the details/documents from the concerned hospital/hospitals from where the deceased took the treatment;

viii) All endeavours shall be made by the District Disaster Management Authority/District Administration and even the Grievance Redressal Committee to avoid any technicalities and all concerned authority shall act as a helping hand, so as to wipe off the tears of those who have suffered due to loss of a family member died due to Covid-19;

Anomalies in death certificates already issued can be corrected

ix) It is further directed that in cases of the death certifications already issued and any family member of the deceased is aggrieved by the cause of death mentioned in the death certificate already issued, it will be open for the aggrieved person to move the appropriate authority who issued the death certificate and/or registering authority and on production of the necessary documents as observed hereinabove, including production of documents, such as, positive RT-PCR/ Molecular Tests/ RAT OR clinically determined through investigations in a hospital/ in-patient facility by a treating physician, while admitted in the hospital/ in-patient facility, the concerned authority shall modify/amend such death certificates. If the person is still aggrieved, it will be open for the aggrieved person to approach the Grievance Redressal Committee constituted as hereinabove and the concerned registering authority shall ratify/amend the death certificate as directed by the Grievance Redressal Committee.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Union of India are directed to issue guidelines to the concerned States/Union Territories incorporating the directions issued hereinabove which shall be binding to all the States/Union Territories

Case Title : Gaurav Kumar Bansal v. Union of India|MA 1120/2021 in W.P.(C) No. 539/202

Citation : LL 2021 SC 536

Click here to read/download the order




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