Courts Update Delhi High Court issues notice to Centre, NDMA on...

Delhi High Court issues notice to Centre, NDMA on a plea seeking ex-gratia compensation for Covid-19 deceased

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New Delhi Sept 10(ILNS): The Delhi High Court today issued notice to Central Government and National Disaster Management Authority(NDMA), in a plea filed by a widow, seeking Ex-Gratia monetary compensation, on account of the death of her husband due to Covid-19.

A Single Judge Bench comprising of Justice Rekha Palli listed the matter for November 18 and remarked, Let’s see if the policy is clearer by next time.

Background

According to the petition, on April 8, 2021, Hari Singh Duglas, the petitioner’s husband started feeling unwell, he complained of having Cough, Fever, Difficulty in Breathing, and Vomiting. Subsequently, on the same day, he was admitted to Gandhi Hospital, Om Vihar, Uttam Nagar, New Delhi.

The Petition avers that Hari Singh Duglas tested positive for Covid-19 and was provided with symptomatic treatment, however, Covid-19 had severely affected the respiratory system of the deceased. 

The Petition further avers that, on May 10, 2021, at about 3 p.m., Hari Singh Duglas succumbed to Covid-19, as a result of Respiratory Failure induced by pneumonia.

The petition has placed reliance on W.P (C): 554/2021Reepak Kansal v. Union of India & Ors, where a Division Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice Ashok Bhushan had given the following direction to NDMA:

“We direct the National Disaster Management Authority to recommend guidelines for ex gratia assistance on account of loss of life to the family members of the persons who died due to Covid-19, as mandated under Section 12(iii) of DMA 2005 for the minimum standards of relief to be provided to the persons affected by disaster – Covid 19 Pandemic, over and above the guidelines already recommended for the minimum standards of relief to be provided to persons affected by Covid-19. However, what reasonable amount to be offered towards ex gratia assistance is left to the wisdom of the National Authority which may consider determining the amount taking into consideration the observations made hereinabove, such as, requirement/availability of the fund under the NDRF/SDRF for other reliefs and the priorities determined by the National Authority/Union Government and the fund required for other minimum standards of relief and fund required for the prevention, preparedness, mitigation and recovery, and other reliefs to carry out the obligation under DMA 2005. The aforesaid   exercise and appropriate guidelines are recommended, as directed hereinabove, within a period of six weeks from today.”

The petition was filed and argued by Advocate Anand along with Advocate Anuj Chauhan./ILNS/KR/SNG

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