COVID-19 death certificates

Supreme Court Directs Centre For Issuance Of Death Certificates To COVID-19 Victims For Ex-Gratia Assistance For Their Families

In the matter of Gaurav Kumar Bansal Vs. Union Of India & Ors., the Supreme Court of India on 24th May 2021, issued direction to the Central Government to bring upon guidelines in regards to death certificates that are being issued to patients who lost their lives due to COVID-19. The said guidelines must include the guidelines issued by the guidelines by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). It was further directed that all the schemes that are stipulated under Section 12(3) of the Disaster Management Act and ex gratia monetary compensation of Rs. 4 Lakhs to families of those who had succumbed to COVID-19 was thereby notified.

Justice MR Shah, acknowledged the submission that the guidelines for minimum standard of relief for ex gratia assistance required a death certificate. The bench asked the Centre,  that currently the certificates only mention some lung problem or infection as reason of death and there’s no mention of Corona. So what were the guidelines to identify them? This had lead to difficulties for the families who had to run from pillar to post to receive the compensation. Therefore, the Bench has directed the Centre to obtain information on the same within 10 days.

It is the right of the family members to know the real cause of death of their beloved family member on any official document, and also it was observed that the medical officers/hospitals are not conducting post mortem of persons who are dying due to COVID-19, and that the certificate would be necessary to get the assistance and monetary compensation.

The plea concluded on the note that it is the legal obligation of the State to provide the victims of COVID 19 with adequate relief and their family members under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). Also it becomes the Constitutional obligation of the State to take care of the victims of the calamity and their families in the wake of this notified disaster.

– Animesh Raizada, Intern, POSHequili

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