On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that people who died within two to three months of testing positive with Covid will be counted as Covid death. The Bench ordered that the Centre should incorporate this benchmark into the guidelines for issuing death certificates.
The procedure followed by UTs and States in registering deaths came under the scanner after two PILs were filed on the issue.
Hon’ble Court observed that persons affected by covid could die because of other complications as well. In its order, the Court noted that Centre and ICMR did not specifically deal with this aspect.
As per the Union Health Ministry, about 3,98,454 people have passed away due to the coronavirus since the first case was detected in March 2020.
The Bench directed appropriate authorities to frame simplified guidelines and procedures for issuing official documents like the death certificate, and the cause of death should clearly state death due to Covid-19. The Bench stated that if a person dies at a hospital or home within two-three months of testing positive, then the death certificate should reflect that they passed away due to Covid.
Currently, death certificates do not mention the cause of death,
The Bench directed the authorities to provide them with a remedy for families who have already received the death certificate and want to apply for correction.
In this case, the Court noted the hardships faced by families who lost members to Covid related complications, but the cause of death does not reflect it.
As per the Court, the authorities should issue certificates that clearly state that a person died due to Covid so that their families could apply for benefits and schemes of government that deal with Covid deaths.
In May 2020, the ICMR had come up with broad guidelines that positive deaths would imply that death occurred due to coronavirus.