Expressing anguish over the misuse of its order and people getting Covid death compensation of Rs 50,000 on the basis of fake documents, the Supreme Court on Monday hinted at directing a probe into the issue by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
“We never visualised that our morality can go so low that these kinds of fake claims would be made… It (giving compensation) is a pious work. We never thought this scheme could be misused,” a Bench led sby Justice MR Shah said, adding that if some officers are also involved, then it is very serious issue.
The top court had earlier warned against the misuse of its order to get ex-gratia compensation for Covid death on the basis of fake medical certificates issued by doctors and had observed that it would order an independent probe to catch those who indulged in such practice.
The apex court also on Monday pulled up the Centre over failing to file a formal application, highlighting the problem despite its indication on the previous date of hearing. It gave Solicitor General Tushar Mehta time till Tuesday to file a detailed application on the issue of fake certificates being issued by doctors to unscrupulous people to claim the ex gratia and also on limiting the time for filing such compensation claims.
Senior counsel R Basant also suggested to do random examination of the compensation claims by the state legal services authorities. Mehta had suggested that people should be required to file claims within four weeks of death taking place and the “process of claiming compensation should not be endless.”
Last year, the Supreme Court had approved the Centre’s disaster management guidelines on payment of Rs 50,000 compensation for each Covid death and said that the money should be disbursed within 30 days of applying to the district disaster management authority or the district administration concerned. It had said that no state shall deny payment to the next of kin of the deceased solely on the ground that the death certificate does not mention Covid as the cause of death. The matter will be heard next on March 21.