SC directs states to reach out to 10,000 kids orphaned due to COVID, pay compensation
New Delhi, Jan 19 : In an effort to provide some help to over 10,000 children who lost both their parents to COVID-19, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed all state governments to reach out to those kids and pay them compensation.
The apex court, which was annoyed over non-disbursal of Rs 50,000 ex-gratia to the kin of those who lost their lives due to COVID-19, pulled up the state governments and summoned the Andhra Pradesh and Bihar Chief Secretaries virtually to seek explanation during the course of the day.
It also issued a show cause notice to Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma as to why contempt action be not initiated against him for non-compliance of top court’s earlier order on disbursal of claims.
A bench of Justices M R Shah and Sanjiv Khanna took note of the submissions of petitioner Gaurav Bansal and advocate Sumeer Sodhi, appearing for intervenors, that over 10,000 children have been orphaned due to COVID and other reasons since the start of the pandemic and they be compensated.
“It is stated that in the entire country as per the information uploaded on Baal Swaraj portal (of NCPCR) approximately 10,000 children have lost their both the parent or a surviving parent. It will be very difficult for them to make their application or submit the claim for compensation.
“We direct the concerned states to reach out to those children, who have lost both their parents and whose particulars are already uploaded in the Baal Swaraj portal and so that the amount of compensation can be paid to them,” the bench said.
“We also direct the concerned states to share the full information/particulars with regard to the number of deaths recorded by the concerned states as well as the particulars/information uploaded in Baal Swaraj portal to the concerned State legal service Authority,” it added. The bench said it would pass a detailed order by Thursday.
The apex court was hearing a batch of pleas by Bansal and intervenors, seeking ex-gratia assistance to family members of COVID-19 victims.
The bench noted from the chart submitted by Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, that majority of the states have rejected number of claims and gave example of Gujarat (4,234), Maharashtra (49,113), Tamil Nadu (10,138) and Telangana (1,489).
“The reasons for rejections may be due to incomplete form or particulars. We direct all concerned states that wherever the claims are rejected the reasons for rejection must be communicated to the concerned claimants and they may be given an opportunity to rectify their applications,” the bench said.