Pinnacle Court summons chief secretaries of AP and Bihar regarding Covid ex gratia roll-out

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The Top Court today sought the personal presence of Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh
and Bihar over non-payment of ex-gratia compensation to kin of those who succumbed to
A bench of Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna said that it will pass orders and asked the
state legal service authorities to reach to the families who have lost their near and dear ones
to Covid-19 to facilitate registration and disbursal of claims like it was done during the 2001
Gujarat earthquake.
Andhra Pradesh had recorded 14,471 Covid-19 deaths, but following the orders by the
Supreme Court in June and October for providing ex gratia compensation of ₹50,000 for all
Covid-19 deaths, the criteria for recording deaths was relaxed and fatalities that occurred
within 30 days of a person testing Covid positive was entitled to compensation. As a result,
Andhra received 36,205 claims as on January 16. However, the state succeeded in paying
compensation to only 11,464 persons.
Unhappy over the slow pace by the state, a bench of justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna
said, “It is unfortunate that despite our earlier directions to pay compensation to kin or family
members of persons who died due to Covid-19, and time and again directions issued, there
is total callousness and negligence on part of Andhra Pradesh.”
The bench said it is not ready to accept that only 12,000 people have died due to Covid in
"We want real facts. In all other states the number has increased after our order, except in
Bihar," the bench observed.
The top court asked the state government counsel to ask the chief secretary of the state to
be present.
At 2 pm once the Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh appeared through the virtual mode, he
stated that he was "distressed" since he was appearing the first time in the Supreme Court
and that too "for such a situation."
The senior bureaucrat assured the top court that whoever has not received the COVID
compensation will have their applications reviewed or else he was "ready to face contempt."
The Chief Secretary of Bihar could not speak to the bench despite being connected due to
audio issues. However the advocate appearing assured the court that all attempts will be
made to reach the poor and illiterate so that they can make their applications.
"Looking into the peculiarity of the state , more effort is needed by the state of Bihar to reach
the eligible persons, / kin/ family members of the ones who succumbed to COVID-19," the
court ordered.

The bench said, “In these matters, payment has to be made immediately as these families
are in need of money. A proactive approach is needed by the administration by appointing a
nodal officer to ensure claims are processed at the earliest.”
Today finally said that “Not making payment to eligible claimants would be tantamount to
disobedience of our earlier order”.