On Friday 10th of September 2021, the Delhi High Court sought response of the Centre and the National Disaster Management Authority on a plea filed by a widow, seeking ex-gratia compensation on account of her husband's death due to Covid-19.
The plea was filed through Advocates Anuj Chauhan and Anand for the petitioner Vandana.
The plea states that the petitioner's husband was declared dead in the hospital on May 10 this year after suffering from Covid-19 and Pneumonia. Hence Vandana the petitioner has filed a plea in the High Court of Delhi and has demanded compensation on account of Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 which states that National Authority shall recommend guidelines for the minimum standards of relief to be provided to persons affected by disaster.
The Plea read, "Because to provide such ex- gratia assistance on account of loss of life is not only a statutory obligation under Section 12 of the DMA 2005, but it is the constitutional obligation also since it also affects the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is submitted that the word "shall" occurring twice in in Section 12 of the Act puts a constitutional and statutory obligation on the part of the Central/State Government to recommend guidelines for providing ex gratia assistance which is in the nature of sustenance assistance."
Justice Rekha Palli, who issued notice in the matter, directed the Centre and NDMA to file their counter affidavits within four weeks. The Court also granted further two weeks time for filing rejoinder in the matter.
While listing the matter to November 18, Justice Palli orally remarked "Let's see if by that time the policy is clearer".
In a similar development, the Delhi Government yesterday informed a bench comprising of Justice Sanghi and Justice Singh that it has prepared a list of 25,000 persons who are entitled to an ex gratia compensation amount of Rs. 50,000 for the deaths within their families due to Covid-19 or Covid related issues. It was also submitted that as of September 9, over 6700 application were received by the Delhi Government for grant of ex gratia compensation to the families of persons who died due to Covid-19.
Case Title: Vandana v. UOI & Anr.