The Supreme Court had earlier asked the Union government to reconsider including persons who died by suicide because of the suffering of COVID-19.

Supreme Court of Indiapti
news COVID-19 Thursday, September 23, 2021 - 18:57

The Union government, on Thursday, September 23, told the Supreme Court that it will consider financial assistance for family members of people who died by suicide within 30 days from being diagnosed as COVID-19. This comes after the Supreme Court had asked the Union government to consider suicides as COVID-19 deaths to make their families eligible for compensation. The court said this while asking it to simplify the process of issuing death certificates.

In an additional affidavit submitted in the top court, the Ministry of Home Affairs said: "It is respectfully submitted that suitable directions in this regard may be passed by this Honourable Court, whereby, the family members of people dying by suicide within 30 days from being diagnosed as COVD-19 positive as per MoH&F/ICMR guidelines will also be entitled to avail financial help as granted under SDRF in accordance with the Guidelines dated 11.09.2021 issued by NDMA under Section 12 (iii) of DMA".

On September 13, the top court had observed that there have been cases where people suffering from COVID-19 died by suicide and such people do not form part of the guidelines issued on September 3. It further added that such people should also be suitably considered for ex-gratia, and they should also be included within the ambit of financial help sought to be given by the Union of India under the guidelines that would be framed under Section 12 (iii) of Disaster Management Act.

Then, a bench comprising justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna had asked the Union government to consider suicide by COVID-19 patients as COVID-19 death cases to enable their family members for compensation. The top court noted that the person must have taken the extreme step due to the suffering from COVID-19 infection.

The bench had told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, "You say that suicide cases would not be covered. We are of the view that it cannot be accepted. What about persons who died by suicide because of the suffering of COVID-19. Reconsider your decision". Mehta had assured the apex court that the government would re-examine the issue.

The top court had expressed its satisfaction over guidelines framed by the Union government for issuing COVID-19 death certificates and payment of compensation.

If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.

Tamil Nadu

State health department's suicide helpline: 104

Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)

Andhra Pradesh

Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930

Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584

Karnataka

Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222

Kerala

Maithri: 0484 2540530

Chaithram: 0484 2361161

Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.

Telangana

State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104

Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200

SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm

Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.

24x7 Helpline: 9820466726

Click here for working helplines across India.

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