Why Don’t You Give Ads Like Other States: Supreme Court To UP Over Aid For Covid Deaths


Why Don't You Give Ads Like Other States: Supreme Court To UP Over Aid For Covid Deaths

“In each district, you are supposed to give advertisements in local newspapers,” the bench said

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court Wednesday slammed the Uttar Pradesh government over disbursal of ex-gratia compensation for COVID-19 deaths and said it should give advertisements in all local newspapers in each district.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the advertisements, a bench comprising justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna said victims should be apprised about a web portal on which they can make an online application for getting the compensation.

“Why don’t you give advertisements like other states stating that this is a portal, this is a grievance redressal committee and you can contact. In each district, you are supposed to give advertisements in local newspapers. This the grievance redressal committee with their particulars, portal details etc. We don’t find any advertisements in any newspapers,” the bench said.

Advocate Ardhendumauli Kumar Prasad, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, told the bench that a total of 25,933 applications have been received out of which 20,060 have been paid.

The bench then asked him about advertisements given in local newspapers.

Mr Prasad submitted that advertisements have been given wherein a phone number has been given. It’s the number of tehsildar, he said.

“Who picks up toll free numbers. We’ll ask you to call just now and see. You just now call them. Call the tehsildar,” the bench said while expressing anguish.

The court then said it would pass an order.

The Maharashtra government informed the top court that till last Monday 85,279 applications have been received.

The top court noted that 85,000 applications have been received, and approximately 1,658 claims have been allowed.

“It’s very unfortunate that only 1,658 have been paid ex-gratia. We direct the State of Maharashtra to make payment of ex gratia of 50,000 to all applicants who have submitted applications as on today in 10 days including approval and actual payment,” the bench said.

About Gujarat, the top court said it was satisfied with contents of advertisements with particulars which will assist beneficiaries.

The top court said such advertisements must be followed by other states and asked Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati to furnish specimens of advertisements to counsels of respective states by Thursday.

The counsel for Gujarat submitted that due to wide publicity the number of applications have increased.

The top court had earlier slammed states for not giving wide publicity about a portal developed for disbursal of ex-gratia compensation for COVID-19 deaths.

It had said unless wide publicity is given, people will not be able to know the portal address on which they can make an online application.

The top court had also expressed concern over the low number of claims for ex-gratia compensation for COVID-19 deaths and directed state governments to inform if wide publicity has been given concerning the scheme for compensation.

The top court was hearing a batch of pleas by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal and intervenors represented by advocate Sumeer Sodhi seeking ex-gratia assistance to family members of COVID-19 victims.

It had on October 4 said that no state shall deny ex-gratia compensation of Rs 50,000 to the family of those dead due to COVID-19 solely on the ground that the death certificate does not mention the virus as the cause of death.

The court had also said that the ex-gratia is to be disbursed within 30 days from the date of applying to the district disaster management authority or the district administration concerned along with the proof of the deaths due to coronavirus and the cause of death being certified as died due to COVID-19.

The top court had said that its directions for payment of compensation to the family members of the persons, who died due to COVID-19, are very clear and there was no requirement at all of constituting the scrutiny committee to award compensation.

It had said it was very much made clear that even in a case, wherein the death certificate the cause is not shown as death due to COVID-19 but if found that those dead was declared positive for coronavirus and has died within 30 days, automatically his or her family members are entitled to the compensation without any further conditions.