The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Friday issued a notice to the state’s government in a PIL seeking financial help for the families of the individuals who have lost their lives due to Covid-19.
The court has given three weeks’ time to the government to file a reply on the issues raised in the petition. The petition justifies the need for immediate financial assistance to the victim families, and next of the kins who died due to COVID -19.
Himachal Pradesh government has not provided any compensation to the families of Coronavirus victims.
A Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice L. Narayana Swamy and Justice Anoop Chitkara passed the petition filed by Tarun Pathak, an advocate, who has alleged that Covid-19 has not only been declared as pandemic but also has been notified as a disaster by the Government of India.
Pathak argues that the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 should be applicable in case of a disease like Coronavirus a well.
He reasoned to the Court that in March 2020, after declaring the Coronavirus Pandemic a disaster, the Government of India provided that in case of death due to Covid, ex-gratia relief of Rs 4 lakh shall be provided to the family or kin of the deceased but later on the said clause was withdrawn.
He said, “The state of Bihar is providing ex-gratia compensation to the families of persons who die due to Covid”.
Pathak suggested that the relief can be provided from the State Disaster Response Fund maintained under the Act or the Chief Minister's Relief Fund. He also said that considering the minimal number of deaths due to Covid-19 in the state, paying the ex-gratia compensation to the families of deceased persons would not burden the state financially.
He added that the compensation would help families belonging to the marginalised sections and have no financial back-ups.
The state’s Covid death toll has already risen to 47 and the reported number of cases till September 4, were 6,660. Around 4,832 persons have recovered from the disease in the state.
The state’s tourism sector is the worst hit due to Coronavirus induced lockdown. The inter-state movement is still regulated through registration of the persons coming to the state on a COVID-19 e-portal.
The state cabinet, on Friday decided to open temples and religious shrines from September 10 for which Standard Operating Procedures will be laid down by the department of Language, Art and Culture. The hoteliers will resume their operations on October 1 as decision taken by their associations.
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