A Bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna has welcomed the Centre's decision on ex gratia for Covid deaths, saying no other country managed to do what India did in terms of its response to the pandemic.
‘‘Today we are very happy. There will be some solace to the persons who have suffered... Everything the government is performing. We're happy that something is being done to wipe out tears of the person who suffered," Justice Shah said.
‘Given the size of our population, vaccine expenses, economic situation and the adverse circumstances that we faced... we took exemplary steps... No other country managed to do what India did," the judges said as they reserved orders in the case.
The court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal and some interveners whose family members succumbed to the deadly virus.
Regarding the court's concern about hospitals which do not mention the cause of death as Covid-19 – which is mandatory for claiming relief –Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the next of kin can approach the district committees to be set up under the NDMA guidelines for redressal of their grievance.
The Bench, in turn, said it will pass orders authorising such committees to call for the hospital records of patients, if need be, so that Covid death certificates can be issued.
The Centre has said the ex gratia amount was worked out keeping in mind the financial prudence. It was also factored in that the states have already incurred huge expenditures from the state disaster relief funds on Covid-19 prevention, management and response. Besides, funds had to be set aside for other natural disasters, too.