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SC: Frame Guidelines for Compensation to Families of Covid Victims

SC: Frame Guidelines for Compensation to Families of Covid Victims

The Supreme Court has directed the government to provide financial assistance to the families of those who lost their lives due to corona infection. In this regard, the court has asked the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to prepare guidelines and fix the amount of compensation within six weeks. In fact, advocates Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Ripak Kansal, in a public interest litigation, had sought financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh from Corona under the National Disaster Management Act 2005 for the relatives of the deceased.

The petitioners referred to two notifications of the government. A notification was issued on 14 March 2020, declaring Covid a notified disaster under the National Disaster Management Act 2005 (DMA). The second notification on April 8, 2015, fixed compensation of up to Rs 4 lakh to the victims killed in the disaster.

India has been a country vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters at different levels. Due to this, the Disaster Management Act 2005 was implemented by the Government of India on 23 December 2005. In this, all aspects related to rescue work, rehabilitation, reconstruction, food arrangements, camping were included during the disaster. The task of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is to formulate and implement policies for relief. Apart from this, NDMA can also issue guidelines for compensation to the victims.

The central government had recently filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court expressing its inability to pay a compensation of Rs 4 lakh. The government had said that it is not possible to give such an amount, it will increase the burden on the government. The Center also says that there is no corona in the 12 uniquely identified disasters at the national level. For the ex-gratia to be given to the disaster victims, in the section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, ‘may’ should be read instead of the English word ‘shall’. But the Supreme Court rejected the Centre’s argument.

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