Deaths due to COVID-linked complications must also be certified as COVID deaths, says Supreme Court

Supreme Court of India. File.

Supreme Court of India. File.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that deaths due to COVID-related complications must be certified as COVID deaths.

This would apply to cases where patients had died of COVID-complications even a month or two after being diagnosed and irrespective of whether the patients died at home or in hospital, the court said.

“A simplified procedure/guidelines is/are required to be issued by the Central Government and/or appropriate authority for issuance of an official document/death certificate stating the exact cause of death, i.e., ‘Death due to Covid-19’,” a Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan directed.

“It is the duty of every authority to issue accurate/correct death certificates stating the correct and accurate cause of death, so that the family members of the deceased who died due to COVID-19 may not face any difficulty in getting the benefits of schemes that may be declared by the government,” the judgment noted.

The court ordered that the guidelines should also lay down the grievance redressal process for the families of COVID-19 patients in case the death certificates do not show COVID-19 as the “exact cause of death”.

The court agreed with the petitioners that by not issuing the correct/accurate death certificates mentioning the correct cause of death, that is COVID-19, the correct number of fatalities due to the pandemic would not be known.

“It is submitted that if the number of persons who died because of COVID-19 are shown less, people would be misled and many a times they would become negligent. It is submitted therefore that it is in the larger public interest also to issue correct/accurate death certificate with correct cause of death,” the top court judgment recorded the arguments of the petitioners.

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 1:12:37 am |