SC Pulls Up States, Summons Andhra & Bihar Chief Secretaries

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday summoned the chief secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar for non-payment of ex-gratia compensation to the kin of Covid-19 victims.

The apex court asked the two chief secretaries to remain present at 2 pm virtually and explain why the disbursals of ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000 for COVID-19 deaths are less in their states, PTI reported.

The apex court also issued show cause notice to the chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh as to why contempt action be not initiated against him.

Hearing a batch of pleas by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal and intervenors represented by advocate Sumeer Sodhi seeking ex-gratia assistance to the Covid-19 victims’ family members, the apex court pulled up the state governments for failure to make complete disbursal of Covid-19 death claims.

An apex court bench of Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna said that it will pass the orders at 2 pm

The apex court asked the state legal service authorities to reach to the families, who have lost their near and dear ones to Covid-19 to facilitate registration and disbursal of claims like it was done during the 2001 Gujarat earthquake.

Rejecting the Covid-19 death toll given by Bihar, the apex court said these are not actual figures but government figures.

“We are not going to believe that only 12,000 people died in the state of Bihar due to Covid. We want your chief secretary to be here virtually at 2 PM,” the apex court bench told the Bihar government’s counsel.

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