NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed discontent over delay in payment of compensation to families of those who succumbed to Covid-19, and ordered personal appearance of chief secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar at 2 p.m.
A bench comprising Justices M.R. Shah and Sanjiv Khanna said the court has issued directions repeatedly to the state governments to not delay compensating the victim families, yet there is delay, which shows the concerned authorities are not taking its directions seriously.
In the context of Andhra Pradesh, the bench said the state government received over 36,000 applications for Covid compensation, but only 11,000 applicants have received compensation so far.
The bench said: "Not making payment to the eligible claimants would tantamount to disobedience of our earlier order...". The bench told the Andhra Pradesh counsel to inform the chief secretary to appear before it at 2 p.m. and show cause why contempt proceedings should not be initiated.
The bench said it is not ready to accept that only 12,000 people have died due to Covid in Bihar.
"We want real facts. In all other states the number has increased after our order, except in Bihar," the bench observed.
The top court asked the state government counsel to ask the chief secretary of the state to be present.
The top court will continue to hear the matter at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The top court was hearing a plea by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, where it is monitoring the disbursal of compensation to families of those who died due to Covid. The Supreme Court has approved the compensation of Rs 50,000 to victim families.