Rights Of Citizens For Ex Gratia Payment Through State Disaster Relief
Fund Applicable To Persons Died Due To Coronavirus.
The Government of India is bound under section 12(iii) of the Disaster
management Act,2005, to frame items and norms of assistance out of State
Disaster Fund. The kind of assistance to be provided to people affected by
disaster has to be notified and brought to the knowledge of States.
The Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs vide Letter No.33-(2020-NDM-I
dated 14/03/2020 informed the chief secretaries of all the states in India that
Government of India has notified Corona Virus as disaster and list of items and
norms was annexed with the letter for providing assistance to those affected by
corona virus. The first item in the list was Ex-Gratia payment of Rs4Lakh, per
deceased person including those involved in relief operations. There were other
items and norms also. However, in the present case I am discussing on payment of
Ex Gratia amount.
It is quite surprising that on 14/03/2020 another modified list was sent to all
states by Ministry of Home Affairs and in the said list payment of Ex-Gratia
amount of Rs4lakh was removed. It is pertinent to mention that Government of
India, Ministry of Home Affairs vide letter No.32-7/2014-NDM-I, dated
08/04/2015, provided revised list of items and norms to be followed by states as
disaster relief for its citizens. The first item in the said list was Ex-Gratia
payment of Rs4lakh to deceased person.
The Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs again issued letter
No.33-5/2017-NDM-I and informed all states in India to follow norms and items
annexed in the list along with the letter for providing relief during disaster.
The list which was annexed with the letter was the same which was circulated on
08/04/2015 containing first item as Ex-gratia payment of Rs4Lakh to deceased.
There is no justification for not providing EX-Gratia Payment of Rs4Lakh to
deceased persons and Government of India is bound under Disaster management Act,
2005 to provide the same. The deletion of item from subsequent letter dated
14/03/2020, is a malafide act on part of Government of India. Under section 12
of Disaster Management Act, it is the duty of Central Government to provide
relief and rehabilitation to the affected persons due to disaster.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in its judgment dated 18/08/2020 has held in
case titled as Centre for Public Interest versus Union of India, WP(C
)No.56/2020 that under section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, guidelines
have been formulated for relief and rehabilitation of those who are affected by
It has been held that section 12 does not contemplate that there
shall be different guidelines for minimum standard of relief for different
disasters. It is also observed by the court in para 47 of the said judgment that
vide order dated 14/03/2020 Government of India has decided to treat Covid-19 as
notified disaster for the purpose of providing assistance under State Disaster
Response Fund, norms for assistance for ex-gratia payment to families has been
notified by Government.
I have also come across another writ petition Civil No539/2021 titled as Gaurav
Kumar Bansal versus Union of India
, recently filed in Supreme court of India for
seeking directions for payment of Ex-Gratia amount to those affected by Corona
Virus pandemic. The hon’ble Supreme Court has issued notice in the said petition
with direction to Union of India to file all policy documents under section 12
of Disaster management Act on record.
It appears that petitioner has not brought
to the notice of court that in WP (C )No.56/2020, it has already held by Hon’ble
Supreme Court that Ex gratia payment has been fixed by Government and the same
is applicable for Covid-19 pandemic also. The Government has deliberately not
informed the court about previous judgment regarding relief to be granted to
victims of Covid-19 Pandemic.
I also sought information from ministry of Home affairs under Right to
Information regarding amount of Compensation fixed to be paid to deceased victim
of Corona Virus. However shocking reply has been received from Government of
India that no compensation has been fixed to be paid to victim of Corona Virus
under Disaster Management Act.
As discussed above Government cannot escape its duty to pay Ex-gratia payment
under section 12 of Disaster management Act and every victim has right to claim
compensation from Government of India as well as State Government.
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Hitender Kapur
Authentication No: JL34740941303-09-0721