Shimla, Sep 4, 2020
High Court of H.P. issued notice to the State Government and directed to file reply within three weeks in a matter related to providing of financial help to the families of those victims who have died due to Covid-19.
A Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice L.Narayana Swamy and Justice Anoop Chitkara passed these orders on a petition filed by Tarun Pathak, Advocate, who has alleged that Covid-19 has not only been declared as pandemic but also has been notified as Disaster by the Government of India, so, for all purposes the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 should be applicable in case of this disease.
He has further alleged that in March 2020, after declaring the Covid Pandemic as Disaster, Government of India provided that in case of death due to covid, ex-gratia relief of Rs.4 lacs shall be provided to the family/kin of the deceased but later n the said clause was withdrawn. He has stated that the State of Bihar is also providing ex gratia compensation to the families of persons who die due to covid.
He has suggested that the relief can be provided from the State Disaster Response Fund maintained under the Act or the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and keeping in view the minimal number of deaths due to Covid-19 in the State, it would not put much financial burden upon the State to pay the ex gratia compensation to the families of deceased persons.
He has alleged that it would be great help to those families who belong to weaker sections of the society and have no finances to cope with the death of its family member due to Covid. Petitioner has prayed to direct the State to devise an appropriate plan to provide financial help to the families of those who die due to Covid and to provide ex gratia or other immediate financial help to the families/ dependents of those victims who have died due to Covid 19 after the same was declared as Disaster, as per the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The Court posted the matter for October 1,2020.