Supreme Court to order random scrutiny of Covid death claim certificates to nail fakes [22.3.2022]

New Delhi, 22.3.2022, Tuesday

Supreme Court to order random scrutiny of Covid death claim certificates to nail fakes

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday decided to order random scrutiny of Covid death claim applications to identify those who got compensation with forged documents after the issue was flagged by the Centre which received complaints from several states. A bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna reserved its order on Centre’s plea for random checking of documents and said it will pass order on March 23 when it will also decide which agency will carry out scrutiny.

To start with, random scrutiny of 5% of claim applications filed in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Maharashtra will be carried out, the bench said. The number of claim applications were far more than the official Covid toll in these states.

It agreed with the Centre’s plea that a time period be fixed to file a claim application. Though the Centre pleaded that a period of four weeks be fixed to apply for compensation, the court said it was too short and agreed with petitioner Gaurav Kumar Bansal’s submission that 90 days be given in case of a fresh death due to Covid to file claim.

Bansal, on whose plea the SC passed a slew of directions including the granting of 50,000 ex-gratia to families which lost their dear ones to the pandemic, said that the victim’s family be first allowed to come out of the grief of loss before applying for compensation.

As per the compilation of data placed before the apex court, over six lakh people have been disbursed the compensation amount of 50,000 each across the country against around eight lakh applications filed, which is far more than the official death toll figured provided by the states and Union territories.

23 Mar 2022