The Centre has to clarify whether families of non-resident Keralites (NRK), who died abroad due to COVID-19 were eligible for ex-gratia relief of Rs 50,000, the state government told the Kerala High Court on Wednesday.
The submission was made by the state during the hearing of a plea by an NGO seeking a declaration that family members of non-resident Keralites, who died abroad due to COVID-19 are entitled to the ex-gratia relief, the organisation’s president — advocate Jose Abraham — said.
He said that the state told the court that a letter seeking the clarification has been sent to the Centre and its response was awaited.
The court, thereafter, said the Centre can be made a party if its stand was required and directed the state to file a statement when it receives a response from the central government.
Abraham said the necessary steps would be taken to make the central government a party in the matter.
The NGO, Pravasi Legal Cell, has contended that applications for the ex-gratia relief by family members of Keralites who died abroad due to COVID-19 were being “arbitrarily” denied by the state government.
The reason given by the state government for denying such applications was that the scheme was applicable only for COVID-19 deaths in India, the petition, filed through advocate E Adithyan, has claimed.
“It is submitted that the poor migrants who went to foreign countries solely for the purpose of finding a living abroad to support their family members in Kerala and unfortunately succumbed to COVID-19 definitely require a sympathetic view.
“… any discrimination against the family members who lost their dear and near ones abroad is a clear violation of their Fundamental Rights,” the plea has said.
It has also said that a representation on the issue was sent to the state government, but no response has been received till now.