The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu before whom a plea in such regard came, recorded the submission made by the State Health Secretary that based on the guidelines, the State Government has instructed all Collectors to form district-level committees, consisting of the Additional District Collector, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Dean or Joint Director of Medical and Rural Health Services in addition to an expert, for the issuance of the official document in the format as suggested by the Union Ministry.
Also perusing the proforma of the relevant certificate indicated in the status report, the bench held: “It is hoped that the guidelines are strictly adhered to and the district-level committees should ensure that in case of deaths which have happened on or before August 31, 2021, the appropriate certificates under the relevant proforma are issued by October 31, 2021.”
“In the unlikely event of any future death arising out of the pandemic, the same procedure should be followed and if the death due to COVID is not recorded in the death certificate itself, the additional certificate in terms of the proforma should be made available to the next of kin or the person entitled thereto within a month of the death,” the bench stressed.
Disposing of the plea moved in this regard, the bench also noted that in the event the certificates are not issued within time or on some other untenable excuse, it will be open to the individuals affected to raise the grievance before the appropriate forum under the law.
The petitioner HA Shrirajalakshmi had sought the State to frame and implement an effective policy to ensure that cause of death is properly and correctly mentioned in the relevant certificate/official document for all COVID-related deaths to enable beneficiaries of government schemes to avail the same without any hindrance.