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‘Reach out to families, don’t wait for them to file claims’: SC to states on Covid compensation

New Delhi, Jan 19, 2022 The Supreme Court on Wednesday told the state governments to reach out to the families who lost their loved ones to Covid-19, and emphasised, the governments should not wait for them to file applications to claim compensation.

A bench comprising Justices M.R. Shah and Sanjeev Khanna told the Kerala government counsel to send out its officers to those families, where it has recorded a Covid death. “Officers must go to them. We don’t have to tell you… Deaths already registered. They must be paid. Let your officers go to districts…” The Kerala government has recorded over 40,000 Covid deaths and it has received over 23,000 claims so far.

During the hearing, Justice Shah, expressing discontent at the delay in Covid compensation by various states, said: “States believe people are at their mercy…”

Justice Khanna noted that the gap between the Covid deaths recorded and the number of applications received, is a matter of serious concern.

The bench noted that the number of applications seeking Covid compensation claims is less than registered death cases in many states, yet governments failed to take proactive steps.

The bench asked the Gujarat government to produce the documentation sample, stating the procedure followed while rejecting compensation claims. The Haryana government counsel informed the top court that state officials are already reaching out to families, where it has recorded Covid death.

The top court said it will take the help of the State Legal Services Authority to reach victim families for disbursement of compensation. The top court will pass the order later in the day.

Earlier in the day, the top court expressed discontent over the delay in payment of compensation to families of those who succumbed to Covid-19, and ordered personal appearance of chief secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar at 2 p.m Wednesday.

The top court was hearing a plea by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, where it is monitoring the disbursal of compensation to families of those who died due to Covid. The Supreme Court has approved the compensation of Rs 50,000 to victim families.  (Agency)

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