New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to ascertain within 6 weeks the ex-gratia amount that can be paid to the family members of those who died due to COVID-19 as per the minimum standards of relief. A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan stated that the NDMA, by not providing ex-gratia amount, has failed in discharging its statutory duty.Also Read - Maharashtra Live: Harish Salve To Appear For Shinde Camp, Sibal-Singhvi To Represent Uddhav in SC

The top court order came on PILs which were filed by advocates Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Reepak Kansal seeking court’s intervention for payment of Rs four lakh ex-gratia amount to the Covid victims’ families. Bansal cited Section 12(iii) of the Disaster Management Act (DMA) providing for ex-gratia monetary compensation for the families of those who died during a notified disaster. Also Read - Maharashtra Crisis: What Happened So Far

Meanwhile, the bench also comprising Justice MR Shah emphasized that the guidelines should be put in place within six months. “What reasonable amount to be provided is left to wisdom of national authority,” said the bench, adding that it is not proper for the court to direct a particular amount of compensation. Also Read - Maharashtra Crisis: Shinde Camp Moves SC Against Disqualification Notice, Matter Likely to be Heard Today | Key Points

The bench asserted that the word used in Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act is as “shall” and is a mandatory one, and added to construe the word “shall” as “may” will defeat the purpose of the provision.

It added the death certificate issued for Covid patients should have simple guidelines, including the date and cause of death. “There will be also facility for correcting the cause of death if family is not satisfied,” said the bench.

(With agency inputs)