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Supreme Court rejects plea seeking compensation of Rs 2 crore for families of Covid-19 deceased, criminal action against officials

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The Supreme Court has refused to entertain a plea seeking directions for compensation of Rs two crore for families of those who died during Covid-19 due to non-availability of oxygen and fastening criminal liability on officials.

A bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said on Thursday that as regards to supply of oxygen, the issue is already dealt with. Compensation is also dealt in a suo motu matter. The prayer of fastening criminal liability is ‘vague’. “It is not necessary to entertain this case. Dismissed,” noted the Court in its order.

The plea was argued by petitioner-in-person DK Chopra, Rastriya Adyaksh of Bhrashtachar Anmolan Mahasangh. The petitioner had sought directions to both the Central and Delhi Government. The plea had alleged that innumerable incidents of death had been reported due to lack of oxygen supply and culpable officers should be subjected to criminal punishment.

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Further, it sought directions to pay Rs two crore compensation (Rs one crore from Central government and Rs one crore from Delhi government) for the families of those who died due to lack of oxygen supply during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“The Constitution of India in Part III provides for fundamental rights, including to life and health of persons under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Even though the ‘Right to health’ is not an explicitly stated fundamental right in the Constitution, the Supreme Court, through various judgments, has interpreted it to be part of the right to life under Article 21. The State has a constitutional duty to protect the fundamental right to life and health of persons. The deaths caused due to the absence or inadequacy of the most basic elements of medical infrastructure exposes the failure of the state to fulfill its duty,”

-the plea had said.

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