Judgement reversed by SC: Plea seeking ex-gratia payment of 4 Lakh for Covid deaths

Deeksha Sood –

On Monday the Apex Court revoked its judgement on a plea seeking directions to the Central and State governments to provide ex-gratia compensation of Rs. 4 lakh  to family members of those who have died to the Covid-19 disease and post-Covid complications including mucormycosis.

A vacation bench of Justice Ashok Bhusan and MR Shah while revising judgment sought to know from the central government whether the (NDMA) had considered the prayer for payment of such ex-gratia payments and rejected the same

The Ministry of Home Affairs had informed the Apex Court that giving an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 4 lakh to each kin of Covid-19 deaths is not possible as the government has limited resources.

Regarding Section 12 of DMA, the reply affidavit by Centre had said that it is the “National Authority” which is empowered to recommend guidelines for the minimum standards of relief, including ex-gratia assistance and thus it is a “function entrusted to the authority by the law passed by the Parliament.”

It is well settled through numerous judgements of the Supreme Court that this is a matter which should be performed by the authority, to whom it has been entrusted and not one where the Court will substitute its own judgement for the decision to be taken by the Executive. Any attempt to second guess may create unintended and unfortunate Constitutional and administrative ramifications.” the affidavit stated.

Senior Advocate SB Upadhyay arguing for the petitioner stated that limited financial resources cannot be used to evade constitutional obligations.

Further, he argued that the scheme for doctors should be extended to those working at the crematoriums too since they are the forefront of the Covid-19 battle.

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