The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up state governments for failing to disburse claims to the next of kin of COVID-19 victims, and issued a show-cause notice to the Andhra Pradesh chief secretary as to why contempt action be not initiated against him.The top court asked the chief secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar government to remain present virtually at 2 PM and explain why the disbursals of ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000 for COVID-19 death are less in their states.
A bench of Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna said that it will pass orders at 2 PM 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. The top court said that it rejects the COVID-19 death toll given by Bihar, and said that these are not actual figures but government figures.
“We are not going to believe that only 12,000 people died in the state of Bihar due to Covid. We want your chief secretary to be here virtually at 2 PM”, the bench told the counsel appearing for the Bihar government. The top court was hearing a batch of pleas by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal and intervenors represented by advocate Sumeer Sodhi seeking ex-gratia assistance to family members of COVID-19 victims.
With inputs from PTI