New Delhi [India], December 14 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up state governments for not giving wide publicity to the portal developed for the disbursal of the ex-gratia compensation to the family of the Covid-19 victims.
A Bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna observed that unless wide publicity is given, people will not be able to know the postal address on which they can make an online application.
It took exception to the government's failure to give adequate publicity -- through print and electronic media -- to the COVID-19 compensation scheme in compliance with its earlier orders.
When the counsel appearing for the Gujarat government told the apex court that publicity of the scheme was given through All India Radio (AIR), the Bench quipped, "Who listens to AIR ? You must give advertisements to newspapers, especially vernacular dailies".
Use FM channels, local newspapers, and vernacular dailies to advertise the scheme regarding Covid-19 compensation suggested the top court.
The Gujarat government's counsel assured the Bench that these steps will be taken by Tuesday. The court decided to hear the matter on December 14.
In its latest affidavit, the Gujarat government said to date it has received 22,557 applications for ex-gratia compensation and sanction has been issued for payment in 16,175 cases and payment made in 14,215 cases.
Notably, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's website had recorded cumulative deaths of 10,098 in Gujarat.
"The State is making all endeavours to ensure that publicity about the ex-gratia compensation scheme is done through radio, print and electronic media as well as through official social media handles. The link to the online line portal has been provided on multiple government websites, including websites of all the District Collectorates, as well as to VCEs (Village Computer Entrepreneurs) of e gram centres at the village level," stated the affidavit.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by lawyer-cum-petitioner, Gaurav Kumar Bansal, seeking an ex-gratia compensation for those family members, who died due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, the top court had approved the Centre's disaster management guidelines on payment of Rs 50,000 ex-gratia compensation to the next kin of those who died of COVID-19 deaths and said the money to be disbursed within 30 days of applying. (ANI)