The Supreme Court on Monday suggested there must be a uniform policy and also some guidelines for issuance of death certificates for those affected with Covid-19.
A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and M.R. Shah said many a time reasons given in a death certificate can be heart attack or lung failure, but these could be triggered by Covid-19.
The bench asked Centre's counsel, "So, how are death certificates being issued?"
The top court issued notice to the Centre on a PIL seeking Rs 4 lakh compensation to kin of each person who died after contracting Covid-19.
"It is respectfully submitted that as per Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 it is the fundamental duty of National Disaster Management Authority to provide minimum standards of relief to persons affected by Disaster.
"As per Section 12 (iii) of the Disaster Management Act 2005, NDMA is duty bound to provide ex-gratia assistance on account of loss to the persons affected by Disaster," said the plea filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal.
The bench asked the Centre and ICMR to state policy in connection with Disaster Management Act, and also queried how would the implementation of this policy work, under the Act for payment of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of deceased, after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic under Act.
The Centre's counsel sought three weeks to file reply in the matter, but the top court asked it to the file the response in 10 days "whether there is a uniform policy for issuance of death certificate".
Citing Section 12 (iii) of the Disaster management Act, 2005, the plea contended that NDMA on April 8, 2015, issued items and norms of assistance from the State Disaster Response Fund and the National Disaster Response Fund.
"It is respectfully submitted that as per the said respondent No. 01 (Centre) has decided to pay Rs 4.00 Lakh as ex gratia payment to per deceased person including those "involved in relief operations or associated in preparedness activities".
The plea urged the top court to issue directions to the Centre and state governments to provide social security and rehabilitation to victims of Covid-19 victims.
"As per Section 12 (iii) of the Disaster Management Act-2005, it is the duty of the respondents (Centre and state governments) to provide minimum standards of relief to all the families whose members have died due to Covid-19 while providing their services in relief operations or while such persons were associated with preparedness activities to combat Covid-19 pandemic," added the plea.