The Delhi High Court has instructed the municipal government to provide a compensation of ₹ 50,000 to the relatives of an individual who succumbed to COVID-19 complications after contracting the virus.
The high court rejected the state's argument that the cause of death was a cardiac arrest and that the individual, who had tested positive for COVID-19 a month earlier, was not eligible for compensation under the Mukhyamantri COVID-19 Pariwar Aarthik Sahayata Yojana (MCPASY).
The court highlighted the hospital's death summary, which stated that the petitioner's husband had contracted COVID-19, was admitted to the hospital, and remained there until his demise on June 19, 2021.
"The death summary categorically points out that the man had contracted COVID-19, and suffered aftereffects of COVID-19, never improved and ultimately passed away on June 19, 2021. Just because the ultimate cause of death is shown to be cardiac arrest does not mean that the husband of the petitioner did not pass away due to the complications arising out of COVID-19," Justice Subramonium Prasad said.
The court was addressing a woman's petition requesting the state authorities release compensation under the MCPASY for her husband's COVID-19-related death in 2021. Additionally, the high court cited a 2021 Supreme Court judgment regarding the provision of compensation to the families of individuals who died from COVID-19.
In its judgment, the Supreme Court clarified that regardless of the cause of death stated in the death certificate, if a family member meets the necessary eligibility criteria, they shall be entitled to the compensation of ₹50,000 upon submission of the required documents. No state should refuse compensation on the basis that the cause of death is not explicitly listed as "Died due to COVID-19" on the death certificate.
The high court stated that the circumstances of the case indicate that the woman's husband had contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized on April 25, 2021. Despite medical intervention, his health did not improve, and he ultimately succumbed to COVID-19 complications after two months in the hospital, as evidenced by the medical certificate issued by the hospital regarding the cause of death.
The counsel representing the Delhi government and the SDM contended that according to the man's death summary, the cause of death was attributed to a cardiac arrest. They further argued that according to the notification governing the grant of compensation under the MCPASY scheme, eligibility requires either the victim's name to be listed in the COVID-19 death cases by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) or the death to occur within one month of a positive RT-PCR report, as certified by the Health Department.
They asserted that the man's name did not appear on the list of deaths attributed to COVID-19, and thus, he was not eligible for compensation according to their interpretation.
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