Law Insider India

Legal News, Current Trends and Legal Insight | Supreme Court of India and High Courts

SC pulls up States for delay in disbursal of Covid-19 death claims, says “they are not above Law”

2 min read
Supreme Court Advocates LAW INSIDER

Munmun Kaur

Published On: January 20, 2022 at 10:45 IST

Supreme Court on January 19, pulled up State Governments for their failure in payment of compensation to the families of Covid-19 victims.

A Bench of Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna summoned the Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar for the 2 PM hearing asking them to explain why disbursals in their States were low.

Justice MR Shah said, “They (the Andhra Pradesh and Bihar Governments) are not above the law!”

Apparently, Andhra Pradesh reported around 36,000 compensation applications out of which 31,000 were found to be correct but only 11,000 were paid so far. On the other hand, Bihar reported an excessively low number of deaths of 12,000 from nearly 8 Lakh cases in the State.

The Bench pulled up Bihar Government for not updating its data and showed disappointment in Andhra Pradesh Government for its total callousness in complying with the orders of the Apex Court.

Justice Shah said, “Not making payment to eligible claimants (is) tantamount to disobedience of our earlier order, for which the Chief Secretary is liable… Let the Chief Secretary remain present virtually at 2 pm and show cause why contempt proceedings should not be initiated…”

The Supreme Court also questioned other States for the serious gap between the number of deaths recorded and the applications received. Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked whether such a gap was because the people were not able to access online application forms?

The Court further pointed to an interesting state of affairs in Kerala where the number of deaths reported was 51,000 whereas claims were about 27,000.

Earlier, in October, the Apex Court had ordered that no State could deny the compensation and the claim to be disbursed in 30 days from the date of filing of applications.