The Supreme Court on Monday said that state governments should not deny ex-gratia compensation to the families of those who died of the coronavirus merely if the death certificate does not mention the disease as the cause of the fatality, Bar and Bench reported.

“If family member satisfies the authority of cause of death as Covid, then no state shall deny benefit of Rs 50,000 on the ground that cause of death is not Covid in the death certificate,” a bench of Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna said.

The court said that if a patient dies within 30 days of testing positive for coronavirus, the death should be considered to have been caused by the disease. The court’s directions were the same as the guidelines issued by the Centre last month for issuing certificates for Covid-19 deaths.

The court also accepted the Centre’s submission that state governments will pay Rs 50,000 compensation to the families of Covid-19 victims. The court added that the compensation should be “over and above the amounts paid by centre and state under various benevolent schemes”.

The bench told the Centre and state governments to widely publicise the compensation scheme in print and electronic media, PTI reported.

In an affidavit submitted to the court on September 22, the Union home ministry had said that compensation for Covid-19 deaths will be channeled through the District Disaster Management Authority or respective district administrations.

The state authorities will issue a form for the claim and specify the documents, including those certifying the cause of death, that are to be submitted, the affidavit had said.

The affidavit was submitted after the Supreme Court on June 30, had asked the National Disaster Management Authority to frame guidelines for ex-gratia compensation within six weeks. The court, however, allowed the authority to decide the amount of compensation.

Till Monday, a total of 4,48,997 persons have died due to Covid-19, according to the Union health ministry’s data.