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Ensure appropriate certificates are given for COVID-19 deaths so family can avail compensation without difficulty: Madras High Court

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The Madras High Court on Thursday urged the State government to ensure that appropriate documents are given to the family or heirs of persons who die due to COVID-19 so that they may not face any difficulty in claiming compensation announced for COVID-19 deaths (HA Shrirajalakshmi v. The Chief Secretary to Government and ors).

The Court took note of the Centre’s submission that the Supreme Court had, on June 30, directed States to ensure that some form of official document marking the cause of death as COVID-19 should be given to family members of those who die due to the pandemic.

The top Court had further observed that all authorities are duty-bound to issue accurate death certificates so that the family members of those who die due to COVID-19 may not face any difficulty in availing beneficial schemes announced by the government.

In view of the same, the Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy directed:

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“The State now has to take appropriate steps to ensure that the heirs or family members of every person who died as a result of Covid-19 are issued an appropriate document that will entitle the suitable person to claim any benefit that has been or may be announced for the relevant person having suffered death due to Covid-19.”

The Court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition which had raised concerns over the reporting of COVID-19 deaths.

In an earlier hearing, the Court had emphasised that it is important to properly attribute the deaths of those who succumbed to COVID-19.

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