The Supreme Court today has issued notice in a plea seeking ex-gratia monetary compensation to families of each person who succumbed to the side-effect/post-Covid-19 disease i.e. black, yellow, white fungus.
The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Vineet Saran, and M.R. Shah also directed the Central government to file its reply in this matter. The plea states that a majority of patients with mucormycosis, or black, yellow & white fungus, etc are those who have recovered from Covid-19. The treatment of Covid-19 leads to a weakened immune system, preventing the body from effectively preventing infection. As a result, individuals recovering from Covid-19 are at risk for mucormycosis, or black, yellow or white fungus. Covid-19 suppresses the immune system, so the immune system cannot clear other bacteria or fungi.
“That the steroid treatments for Covid-19 also suppress the body’s immune response, contributing to these increased mucormycosis/ fungi infection,” the plea stated. There are several States which have also notified the mucormycosis or black fungus as a notified disease under ‘The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897’.
The plea also stated, “The entire benefits/ex—gratia compensation under section 12 Disaster Management Act, 2005 for patients of Covid-19 may also be extended to the patients of post-Covid-19 disease i.e. black fungus, yellow fungus, and white fungus, etc.”
In another petition filed by the petitioner seeking the ex-gratia amount of Rs 4 lakh each to the family of those people who succumbed to Covid-19, the bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan has pronounced their verdict and directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to frame guidelines for fixing ex-gratia meant for these families within six weeks. The Court also said, “The National Authority (NDMA) has failed to perform its duty.”
As per Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the National Authority shall recommend guidelines for the minimum standards of relief to be provided to persons affected by disaster, which shall include ex-gratia assistance on account of loss of life.