The Supreme Court on Friday, 17 December, pulled up several states across the country over the inordinate delay in disbursal of ex gratia to the kin of people who died of COVID-19.
An apex court bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna observed that some states, namely Kerala, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan, had significant delay in providing compensation to the victims.
On inspecting the data provided by the Centre, the court stated that only 12,000 out of 1,41,000 applicants were compensated in Maharashtra.
In Kerala, the number of claims approved stood at 528, as against a record of 40,000 COVID-19 casualties.
"So far, as the State of Kerala is concerned, it is still a very sorry state of affairs that as against 40,855 deaths, 10,778 forms have been received, and that actual payment has been made only to 548 claimants. As a welfare state, it is its duty to pay ex gratia to people who have already suffered."Supreme Court, as per LiveLaw
Further, the apex court also found fault with Rajasthan, asking if the state's administration was attempting to "suppress something".
"Who will believe that in the whole of Rajasthan only 8,955 died? You cannot even tell us how many applications you have received. It means you are trying to suppress something," the bench observed.
The counsel representing Ashok Gehlot's administration had earlier stated that out of the 8,959 recorded deaths, the government had disbursed compensation to 8,577 families.
All three states were asked to register and pay out all claimants within a week.
The top court also brought delays by the state administrations of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Punjab, and West Bengal into question.
(With inputs from LiveLaw.)