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Delhi HC asks Centre to decide representation for ex-gratia assistance to kin of Indians who died abroad due to COVID-19

The plea submitted that the Indian migrants in destination countries are the worst affected groups due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Delhi High Court on August 24 directed the Centre to consider as representation a PIL seeking to extend the ex-gratia assistance to the family members of Indian citizens who died abroad due to COVID-19.

A Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to decide the representation as expeditiously as possible in accordance with the law, rules, regulations and government policy applicable to the case and disposed of the petition.

Advocate M.P. Srivignesh, representing petitioner trust Pravasi legal Cell, urged the court to direct the authorities to decide his pending representation of July 5 on the issue.

The plea sought to direct the Indian missions abroad to collect and maintain proper data of those Indian citizens died abroad due to COVID-19 and to also include the children who have lost both parents or surviving parent or legal guardian/adoptive parents due to the virus abroad but who are Indian Citizens under the ‘PM-CARES for Children scheme’.

The plea submitted that the Indian migrants in destination countries are the worst affected groups due to the pandemic as most of them have either lost their jobs or their salaries have been reduced.

The fundamental rights that are guaranteed to all citizens are not extinguished when the person travels or lives abroad, it said.

The plea said that in several PILs, the Supreme Court has held that the NDMA has a statutory obligation to frame guidelines for recommending minimum ex-gratia assistance to Covid victims and gave it six weeks to frame the guidelines for fixing the ex-gratia meant for these families.

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