No other country managed to do what India did in terms of its response to Covid-19, the Supreme Court said on Thursday, praising the government for its handling of the pandemic. The court reserved the order on a case involving the Rs 50,000 compensation proposed for Covid-19 deaths.
“Today we are very happy. There will be some solace to the persons who have suffered… Everything the government is performing. We’re happy that something is being done to wipe out tears of the person who suffered,” Justice M.R. Shah said.
Justices Shah and A.S. Bopanna also appreciated India’s response to the coronavirus pandemic that drew intense scrutiny over thousands of deaths due to the lack of preparedness for the second wave and shortages of essentials like medical oxygen.
“Given the size of our population, vaccine expenses, economic situation and the adverse circumstances that we faced… we took exemplary steps… No other country managed to do what India did,” the judges said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre said that situation in India is better than the foreign countries, since people abroad are agitating against masks and vaccines, and they are approaching Court saying “it’s my life and I don’t wish to wear masks”.
To this, the Bench replied, “We have said this is an order also, it is not just your life. You have no right to play with the life of others.”
The Centre has yesterday informed the top court that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has recommended an amount of Rs 50,000 as ex-gratia to be paid to families of those who died of Covid-19 including those who involved in relief operations or associated in preparedness activities subject to cause of death being certified as Covid-19.
In an affidavit filed before the top Court the Centre has said NDMA proposed the amount, which has to be distributed by state governments from the State Disaster Response Fund.
It has also said that family members of people who die by suicide within 30 days from being diagnosed as Covid-19 positive are also entitled to ex-gratia compensation to be paid out of the State Disaster Relief Funds.
On Thursday, during the hearing Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre told about the compensation amount and said, “We cannot repair the loss, but we can do something.”
The top court said that it will pass appropriate orders on October 4. The apex court was hearing a petition filed by lawyer-cum-petitioner, Gaurav Kumar Bansal, seeking an ex-gratia compensation for those family members, who died due to the pandemic.
The top court had directed the Central government to issue simplified guidelines for the issuance of an official document relating to Covid-19 deaths to the family members of the deceased, who died due to coronavirus.
Bansal had moved the apex court seeking direction to the authorities concerned to provide an ex-gratia monetary compensation of Rs 4 lakhs (notified in the financial aid) to the family members of the deceased, succumbed to Covid-19, as per MHA letter in view of Section 12 of The Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The petitioner had sought immediate appropriate directions to the authorities concerned to pay financial help as laid down by the Central government in its statute and rules to the family members of the deceased, who succumbed to Covid-19.