On 30th June 2021, in the case of Reepak Kansal vs Union of India & Gaurav Kumar Bansal vs Union of India, The Supreme Court of India held that the Death Certificate of a COVID 19 succumbed person must clearly specify Coronavirus as cause of death. Even if the person dies due to after effects of the COVID 19 or any other COVID 19 complications, then also the certificate should mention the COVID 19 as cause of death.
The court also observed that it is the duty of the authorities to ensure that the correct form of death certificates are issued to the family of the deceased, as it will help them in seeking the benefits of the schemes that have been declared by the Government for such families. The court stated this because there have been various cases where the family of deceased were not able to avail the benefits of a government scheme just because the death certificate has no mention of COVID 19 as cause of death.
The court, after going through the affidavit submitted by the centre and keeping in view the guidelines of ICMR, held that the procedure of issuing death certificates must be simplified. The court asked the Central Government to draft a simplified procedure to issue death certificates which clearly states that the death is caused due to COVID 19 and issue it to the families of the deceased so that no more hardships are faced by the families.
The court suggested that in case a person who was found COVID 19 positive dies after 2-3 months, be it in hospital or home or any other place, even then the certificate issued should state the cause of death as “Death due to COVID 19”. The court also asked to provide a remedy for those who are provided with incorrectly framed death certificates of the deceased who died due to COVID 19 and it’s complications.
– Animesh Raizada, Intern