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'Every state has different policy': SC to not issue nationwide guidelines for COVID-19 compensation to kin of deceased

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to issue nationwide guidelines for adequate ex-gratia monetary compensation to families of those who died due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in India. The Court observed that since every state may have a different policy, based on its finances, policy, etc, there cannot be a single unifying direction from the top court.

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'Every state has different policy': SC to not issue nationwide guidelines for COVID-19 compensation to kin of deceased
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The Supreme Court on Monday refused to issue nationwide guidelines for adequate ex-gratia monetary compensation to families of those who died due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in India. The Court observed that since every state may have a different policy, based on its finances, policy, etc, there cannot be a single unifying direction from the top court.

A Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Subhash Reddy, and MR Shah dismissed the plea seeking inter-alia directions to the Union and State Governments to formulate appropriate guidelines regarding the matter. The Bench remarked that there was no uniformity among states in the policy of providing ex-gratia financial compensation to the next of kin of the COVID-19 victims and that every state had a different policy and a different stipulation for compensation.

The plea, filed by an activist, had highlighted that the state of the world is "akin to an emergency, being war-like in nature" therefore it was imperative to provide ex-gratia honorary monetary compensation as a mode of relief measure and financial assistance to those families who have lost their loved ones due to COVID-19. The plea further highlighted that the Union and State Governments have a constitutional and fundamental duty to protect the interests of Indian citizens in times of distress and worldwide agency.

The petitioner had urged intervention in the public law remedies provided to citizens in the manner and suggested that a National Relief Plan under Section 11 of the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA) be formulated to provide financial relief, especially to the weaker sections of the society.

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