A bench of Justice M R Shah and A S Bopanna expressed its satisfaction over guidelines framed by the Centre for issuing Covid death certificates and payment of compensation but said three to four issues needed to be sorted out, including bringing those who committed suicide while being Covid positive under its ambit.
“You say that suicide cases would not be covered. We are prima facie of the view that it cannot be accepted. What about persons who committed suicide because of suffering of Covid. Reconsider your decision,” the bench told the solicitor general after going through Centre’s guidelines. Mehta agreed and assured the court that the government would re-examine the issue. “Cause of death may be suicide but the cause of suicide is Covid and the issue needs to be revisited,” he submitted.
In an affidavit filed before the SC, the Centre had also submitted that the Office of the Registrar General of India on September 3 had issued a circular to provide a medical certificate of cause of death to the next of kin of the deceased.
Deaths occurring due to poisoning, suicide, homicide and deaths due to accident, among others, will not be considered as Covid-19 deaths even if Covid-19 is an accompanying condition, the guidelines stated. “Covid-19 cases which are not resolved and have died either in hospital settings or at home, and where a medical certificate of cause of death has been issued to the registering authority will be treated as a Covid-19 death,” according to the guidelines.