Compassion & caution

Source: Indian Express

Relevance: Recently, SC directed the government to release compensation for victims of Covid-19.

Synopsis:  Why the Supreme Courts’ directive to provide Exgratia compensation to the families of those who have lost their lives during the Pandemic is not a rational idea.


  • Recently, the Supreme Court directed the National Disaster Management Authority to frame guidelines for compensation to the next of kin of families of those who died during the Pandemic.

Why the Supreme Courts’ directive is not a rational one?

  • One, The SC’s directive of ex-gratia payment, though in sync with the Act, does not do justice to its own reading of the pandemic’s peculiarities.
    • The 2005 law’s definition of a disaster as “a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man-made causes” indicates that it was not framed to cater to the demands of a countrywide public health crisis.
  • Two, a Pandemic is not a one-time event, unlike other Disasters. The Pandemic is set to stay for a longer time. Learning to live with Covid-19 using vaccination and precaution is the key.
  • Three, the use of the disaster management law is an ill-advised move because it could set a precedent in a country beset with several other health crises in addition to Covid-19.
  • Fourth, such relief measures are best organized by local governments. For instance, some states have announced steps for those who have lost their sole breadwinner or children who have been orphaned. A one-check solution as directed by the court cannot be the most equitable one.
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