Supreme court asks the Indian government to compensate families of those who died during the pandemic

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Supreme court asks the Indian government to compensate families of those who died during the pandemic
  • The Supreme Court has ordered the National Disaster Management Authority to frame compensation guidelines in 6 weeks.
  • The union government has argued that the state government will be left with insufficient funds if they compensate families of those who died.
  • Supreme court has left it up to the government to decide how they plan to compensate the families of those who lost their lives
The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday (June 30) ordered the Indian government to pay out the families of those who died because of COVID-19. The apex court has ordered the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) -- which is headed by the Prime Minister of the country -- to frame guidelines on ex-gratia compensation in the next six weeks.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan issued the order in response to a plea seeking ₹4 lakh each to families of those who succumbed to the virus.

The union government had submitted an affidavit too, saying that the state government cannot afford to pay such compensation. If the state government pays ₹4 lakh to the family of each person who died during the pandemic, its financial implication may consume the entire amount of the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).

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Giving such compensation would leave states with insufficient funds to fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic or take care of any other disaster, the union government claimed. They also argued that the focus should be on a broader approach like health interventions.

The Supreme Court also took into consideration the union government’s arguments. It observed, “No country or state has unlimited resources. Dispensation of the same is based on a number of circumstances and facts. Therefore, we don't think it is proper to direct the Union to pay a particular amount. This is to be fixed by the [union] government. Ultimately, the priorities are also to be fixed by the government."

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