Fake Compensation Claims Of Covid Victims Will Be Investigated By Govt; SC Gives Green Signal
The Supreme Court has allowed the Centre to conduct an inquiry into fake claims for ex-gratia compensation meant for family members of those who passed due to Covid.
States Affected By Fraud Cases
The bench said that the government can verify 5% of claims in four states where there was a wide gap between number of claims and recorded deaths.
Those states are Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
The bench noted that 7,38,610 claims are received and, therefore, it is not possible to verify each and every claim.
Hence, it allowed the NDMA/Union of India, through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to carry out the random scrutiny of 5% of the claim applications by the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Maharashtra at the first instance.
It said that the scrutiny must be carried out within a period of three months and submit the report before it.
Those found to have made a fake claim will be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, and also with a fine.
The court had raised concerns regarding fake claims for getting compensation of Rs 50,000, meant for family members of those who died from Covid.
It said that it had never considered that this can be “misused” or that the morality of those who do would sink so low.
No Denial Of Payment
It has directed all state governments and Union Territories to appoint a dedicated nodal officer to coordinate with the member secretary of the state legal service authority (SLSA) to facilitate the payment of ex gratia compensation.
The top court had rebuked state governments over the non-disbursal of the Rs 50,000 ex gratia.
It had ordered that no state shall deny the payment to the next of kin of those who died from COVID-19 solely on the grounds that the death certificate does not mention the virus as the cause of death.
It said that the payment has to be disbursed within 30 days from the date of applying to the district disaster management authority or the district administration concerned along with the proof of the death of the deceased due to coronavirus and the cause of death being certified as died due to COVID-19.
The court determined that there was no requirement of setting up a scrutiny committee to award compensation.
It had made it clear that even if Covid is not listed as the cause of death but the deceased was declared positive for coronavirus and has died within 30 days, their family members are automatically entitled to the compensation without any further conditions.