Gaurav Kumar Bansal vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (04.10.2021 – SC): MANU/SC/0861/2021

Background: The Supreme Court in this case directed the National Disaster Management Authority to recommend guidelines for ex gratia assistance on account of loss of life to the family members of the persons who died due to Covid-19, as mandated under Section 12(iii) of DMA 2005 for the minimum standards of relief to be provided to the persons affected by disaster – Covid 19 Pandemic, over and above the guidelines already recommended for the minimum standards of relief to be provided to persons affected by Covid-19.

● The Authority recommends an ex-gratia payment to next of kin of the deceased due to COVID-19, subject to cause of death being certified as COVID-19 as per the guidelines issued by MOHFW and ICMR.

Amount of ex-gratia payment: The Authority recommends an amount of Rs. 50,000/ (Fifty thousand only) per deceased person including those involved in relief operations or associated in preparedness activities, subject to cause of death being certified as COVID-19. With regards to such certification, and redressal of any grievances regarding the same, guidelines issued by MOHFW and ICMR on 3rd September 2021, and referred to in Para 2 above, will be applicable.

Source of funds: The ex-gratia assistance shall be provided by States from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

Disbursement: The District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA)/ district administration would disburse the ex-gratia assistance to the next of kin of the deceased persons. The concerned families will submit their claims through a form issued by State Authority along with specified documents including the death certificate that certifies the cause of death to be COVID-19, The DDMA will ensure that the process of claim, verification, sanction, and the final disbursement of ex-gratia payment will be through a robust yet simple and people-friendly procedure. All claims must be settled within 30 days of submission of required documents, and disbursed through Aadhaar linked Direct Benefit Transfer procedures.

Grievance redressal: in case of any grievances with regards to certification of the death, as prescribed in the MOHFW and ICMR guidelines mentioned above a Committee at district level consisting of Additional District Collector, Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), Additional CMOH/ Principal or HOD Medicine of a Medical College (if one existing the district) and a subject expert, will propose necessary remedial measures, including Issuance of amended Official Document for COVID-19 death after verifying facts in accordance with these guidelines. In case the decision of the Committee is not in favour of the claimant, a clear reason for the same shall be recorded.

Continuous scheme: The Ex-Gratia assistance to families affected by COVID-19 deaths will continue to be provided for deaths that may occur in the future phases of the COVID-19 pandemic as well, or until further notification.


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