Akanksha Singh –
Published on: September 12, 2021 at 11:44 IST
The government has informed the Supreme Court that the Ministry of Health and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have come out with guidelines to issue “official documents” for COVID-related deaths.
The affidavit has been presented in the apex court almost 10 days after it slammed the central government over delay in making guidelines for issuance of Covid death certificates.
In accordance with these guidelines, cases diagnosed through RT-PCR / Molecular Test / Rapid Antigen Test, seeking compensation for death due to COVID in the case submitted by the Centre to the Supreme Court, or those who are medically prescribed in a hospital while one is admitted there, will be recognised as Covid cases.
This is being done “to make the scope (of the provision) wider and more inclusive”.
Further the guidelines also stated that “ Those COVID cases which are not resolved and have died either in hospital settings or at home, and where a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death… has been issued to the registering authority as required under Section 10 of the Registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969, will be treated as a Covid-19 death”.
However it is also mentioned in the guidelines that “Those death which are occurring due to poisoning, suicide, homicide, accidents etc will not be treated as Covid-19 deaths even if the virus infection is an accompanying condition.”
In separate petitions filed by advocates Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Ripak Kansal, an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh was sought for the Covid-19 victims in compliance of Supreme Court’s decision the Centre conveyed the same guidelines in an affidavit.
The court had said in the hearing on September 3 that “It had directed on June 30 that the guidelines for issuing and rectifying the death certificate/official document stating the exact cause of death i.e. ‘COVID-19’ should be simplified and correct, to enable dependents to get benefits of welfare schemes.”
However the guidelines also says that if the dependents are not satisfied with the cause of death given in the municipal certificate, the state or Union territory must set up a committee consisting of officials, medical experts and subject experts.
As per the guidelines, the issuance of official documents and the grievances are to be disposed of within 30 days of submission of applications for redressal.