Families of COVID-19 deceased have deadlines to file ex-gratia claims

COVID-19 Deaths: The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in Miscellaneous Application No. 1805 of 2021 in Writ Petition (C) No. 539 of 2021, set the following deadlines for beneficiaries to file claims for payment of ex-gratia assistance to families of COVID-19 deceased, as announced by the National Disaster Management Authority.

The following are the main directions issued by the Hon’ble Court:

  • If a death occurs as a result of COVID-19 before March 20, 2022, an outer time limit of sixty days will apply from March 24, 2022, to file compensation claims.
  • For any future deaths caused by COVID-19, there will be ninety days from the date of death to file a claim for compensation.
  • The earlier order to process claims and make actual compensation payments within thirty days of receipt of the claim will remain in effect.

Any COVID death claimant may approach Grievance Redressal Committee

The Hon’ble Court did, however, direct that in the event of extreme hardship, a claimant may approach the Grievance Redressal Committee and make a claim through the Grievance Redressal Committee, which will be considered by the Grievance Redressal Committee on a case-by-case basis if the Grievance Redressal Committee finds that a particular claimant could not make the claim within the time prescribed. 

Furthermore, the Hon’ble Court directed that, in order to reduce the risk of fraudulent claims, a random examination of 5% of claim applications be conducted in the first instance. If it is discovered that someone has made a false claim, they will be prosecuted under Section 52 of the DM Act, 2005, and will face penalties. 

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