Frame policy to identify, compensate kin of those who died of COVID-19 after-effects: Kerala HC

The Kerala High Court has directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to “expeditiously” frame a policy for identifying those who died due to after effects of COVID-19 immunisation and compensating their dependents.

Justice V G Arun directed the NDMA to do the needful “as expeditiously as possible”, but within three months of its order dated September 1.

The direction was issued after Justice Arun said he himself, in his current jurisdiction, has come across three such cases which claimed that a person who had undergone COVID-19 immunisation had succumbed to the after-effects of vaccination.

“Therefore, even if the numbers are very few, there are instances where people are suspected to have succumbed to the after-effects of immunisation. In such circumstances, respondents 2 (NDMA) and 8 (Ministry of Health) are bound to formulate a policy for identifying such cases and compensating the dependents of the victim,” the court said.

It further directed, “The second respondent (NDMA) is hence directed to formulate policy/guidelines for identifying cases of death due to the after-effects of COVID-19 vaccination and for compensating the dependents of the victim. The needful in this regard shall be done as expeditiously as possible and at any rate within three months.” The court also noted in its order that the documents on record “prima facie shows” that the petitioner’s husband died due to adverse events following immunisation.

The order came after the Centre informed the court that no such policy has been formulated so far.
The court was hearing the widow’s plea seeking a direction to the respondents (Centre and state government authorities) to grant her and her children ex-gratia compensation which was offered to families of those who succumbed to COVID-19.

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