The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Union Government to reconsider its guidelines that excluded suicides from Covid-19 death certificates. Justice M.R. Shah said that it is prima facie of the view that such suicide cases of Covid positive patients be treated as Covid deaths. The Centre assured the court it would re-examine the issue.
Apart from this, the Court has said that there are some other issues in the guidelines the government has been asked to reconsider.
The division bench led by Justice M.R. Shah and Justice A.S. Bopanna expressed satisfaction with the Centre’s decision on Covid-19 death certificates for granting compensation but said 3-4 issues need to be sorted including that of suicides of Covid positive patients which needed to be brought within the Covid ambit.
The Apex Court wanted to know how will the state government implement the Covid guidelines. It sought clarification from the government on the constitution of district committees for redressal of cases. “When will it be formed and which certificate will the family members have to put in front of the committee as evidence?”
For full implementation of directions issued by this court, the issues that are to be re-considered have been told to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. The next hearing of this case will be on September 23.
It is pertinent to note that on the matter of compensation to the deceased Covid-19 patients, the Supreme Court had asked the government to mention death from coronavirus on the death certificate issued to those who died of the virus. For this, it has been said in the guidelines from the government that if the patient is confirmed to be corona positive in the Covid test or any examination done in the hospital, then the cause of death will be written corona in the death certificate on his death.
On September 11, the Union Government filed a detailed affidavit before the Supreme Court regarding the issuance of Covid-19 death certificates. The Centre told the Supreme Court that the Health ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have come out with guidelines for issuing an “official document” for Covid-related deaths.
The Supreme Court on on June 30, 2021 directed the Centre to frame guidelines for payment of ex-gratia compensation for Covid-19 deaths under the National Disaster Management Act 2005. The Court had granted six weeks for the Centre to frame the scheme under the 2005 Act and specify the amount since Covid-19 was notified as a disaster under the 2005 Act.
The Supreme Court Judgement had come on two separate pleas filed by lawyers Reepak Kansal and Gaurav Kumar Bansal seeking directions to the Centre and the states to provide Rs 4 lakh compensation to the families of Novel Coronavirus victims, as provisioned under the Act.