Contempt Plea in Supreme Court against the Centre alleging willful disobedience of its order apropos ex gratia compensation, Covid-19 death certificates

  • Ratna Singh
  • 03:08 PM, 14 Sep 2021

A plea for initiating contempt proceedings against the Centre has been moved in the Supreme Court alleging willful disobedience by the government on the court's directions in judgment dated Jun 30, 2021.

In the judgment the Apex Court had directed the National Disaster Management Authority to recommend guidelines for ex gratia assistance on account of loss of life to the family members of the persons who died due to Covid-19.

The court had also directed for the issuance of Death Certificates/ official documents of the persons, stating the exact cause of death, including “Death due to Covid-19”, and to take appropriate steps on recommendations made by the Finance Commission in its XVth Finance Commission Report.

The petition has been filed by one Reepak Kansal who was a party to the judgment delivered on June 30. He has averred in his plea that the contemnors (the Centre) “sat tight over the issue” and have been “maintaining an angelic silence regarding securing compliance” of the aforesaid order.

“It was submitted that the contemnors have willfully, deliberately and contumaciously disobeyed, defied and violated the solemn order & Judgment dated 30.06.2021 passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Writ Petition (C) No. 544/2021 titled as Reepak Kansal Vs Union of India,” stated the plea.

He further contented in the plea that the Centre is strictly bound to comply with the orders of the court of law as, “the non-implementation of the direction of this Hon’ble Court by prolongation to sabotage the spirit of the judgement, is tantamounting to touching the Majesty of this Hon’ble court.”

The petitioner further contented that there was no application seeking extension of time filed by the respondent in Writ Petition (C) No. 544/ 2021 and time of 6 weeks granted by this Hon’ble Court had also expired on August 11, 2021.

The petitioner has prayed for the following reliefs-

Firstly, to issue rule to the alleged contemnors calling upon them as to why they should not be punished for Contempt of Court under Article 129 of the Constitution of India read with Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of Supreme Court Rules, 1975 for their deliberate disobedience, willful negligence, purposive violation and calculative non-compliance of the order and judgment dated 30.06.2021 passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Secondly, to issue rule nisi (to show cause).

Thirdly, to issue appropriate directions for punishment for the breach of the solemn order & judgment dated Jun 30, 2021 passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

Previously, a plea had been filed in Supreme Court by the petitioner seeking ex gratia monetary compensation of Rs. 4 lacs or notified ex gratia monetary compensation to the families of deceased who have succumbed to the Covid-19 pandemic, in view of Section 12 of The Disaster Management Act, 2005. 

Thereafter, on Jun 21 the Supreme Court concluded hearing and passed judgment in the same.

Case title- Reepak Kansal v. Union of India