The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah, while allowing the petitioner to withdraw his petition, said that every state may have a different policy, based on its finances, policy, etc, but there cannot be directions from the top court.
The petition filed by advocate Deepak Prakash sought a direction to the Centre as well as to state governments to formulate an appropriate ‘compensation plan‘ to provide ex-gratia monetary compensation to the kin of essential/ healthcare workers who have succumbed to COVID-19.
Pointing out that a majority of the Indian population belongs to the weaker sections of society, the petitioner submitted: “The said citizens are also the tax payers of our country. In such a structure, whereby the death rate is only increasing at an alarming rate per day, it is imperative for the State to formulate appropriate guidelines, on compassionate grounds, for ex-gratia compensation to the families of the COVID-19 casualties, especially for the front-line workers such as doctors, nurses, paramedical staff etc., solely with the purpose of aiding the families for their basic survival and sustenance during this pandemic.”
The petitioner further submitted: “Pertinently, the death of an Indian citizen not only impacts his/her own personal life, it affects the lives of all the members of the family who were dependent on the sole source of income. In the event of death of such a family member and while regarding the huge unemployment which COVID-19 has encompassed globally, the dependents are with no finances for survival.”
The petitioner, thus, urged the court to seek a status report from the governments on the total number of COVID-19 related casualties and measures taken by the authorities for compensating the loss of life due to this disaster in the country as well as abroad.
– India Legal Bureau