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Suicide within 30 days of testing positive to be treated as COVID-19 death: Centre tells SC

If a person dies of suicide within 30 days of testing coronavirus positive, it will be considered as COVID-19 death, the Centre on Thursday informed the Supreme Court. In such a case, the next of kin will be entitled to get an ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000.

The government has submitted guidelines in Supreme Court on what would constitute a COVID-19 death. Earlier, the government had said that deaths occurring due to poisoning, suicide, homicide, accidents etc will not be treated as COVID-19 deaths despite the deceased testing COVID positive.

The apex court had asked the government to reconsider this condition. The Supreme Court meanwhile appreciated the government for fixing ex-gratia payments to the next of kin of those who succumbed to the pandemic. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta apprised the court that the NDMA had recommended payment of Rs 50,000 ex-gratia to the next of kin of those who died due to COVID-19 and told about the guidelines.

Today we are very happy. There will be some solace to the persons who have suffered. Everything the government is performing… We’re happy that something is being done to wipe out the tears of those who suffered… We have to take judicial notice of the fact that what India has done, no other country could do,” remarked Justice M R Shah, sharing a bench with Justice A S Bopanna.

The family members of the deceased can raise their grievance before the concerned District Level Committee if the death certificate issued does not recognise it as ‘death due to COVID-19’. The government guidelines stated that a COVID-19 case, while admitted to the hospital/in-patient facility, and who continued as the same admission beyond 30 days and died subsequently, shall be treated as a COVID-19 death

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