Ex-gratia compensation to COVID victims: SC expresses concern over fake medical certificates issued by doctors
New Delhi: While considering the plea dealing with ex-gratia compensation for the families of COVID-19 victims, the Supreme Court on Monday expressed its concern regarding the issue of fake medical certificates being issued by doctors. Observing that such fake certificates were enabling undeserving people get money, the top court bench comprising of Justice MR Shah and Justice...
New Delhi: While considering the plea dealing with ex-gratia compensation for the families of COVID-19 victims, the Supreme Court on Monday expressed its concern regarding the issue of fake medical certificates being issued by doctors.
Observing that such fake certificates were enabling undeserving people get money, the top court bench comprising of Justice MR Shah and Justice BV Nagarathna expressed the possibility of an independent prove into the matter and posted the matter for further hearing on next Monday.
The bench also agreed to the submissions made by the Solicitor General and opined that there should be a time-limit for making such claims and noted that without a limit, the process might go on for 5-6 years.
Medical Dialogues had last year reported that the Union Government filing a detailed affidavit before the Supreme Court had informed about the guidelines on issuing Covid-19 death certificates.
This had come after the top court had issued directions in two separate pleas seeking directions to the Centre and the States for providing ex-gratia monetary compensation of Rs 4 lakhs (notified in the financial aid) to the family members of the deceased, succumbed to Covid-19.
While considering the petitions, the Supreme Court in its June 30 verdict had ordered steps to simplify guidelines for issuance and correction of death certificates and official documents, stating the exact cause of death, that is, 'death due to COVID-19' for enabling dependents to get benefits of welfare schemes.
Back then, the Apex court had also directed that such guidelines may also provide the remedy to the family members of the deceased who died due to COVID-19 for correction of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death/Official Document issued by the appropriate authority.
Earlier, the court had given its nod for ex-gratia compensation of Rs 50,000 for the family members of the people who had died because of COVID, as suggested by the National Disaster Management Authority. The court had directed the states to pay this amount from the State Disaster Response Fund.
As per the latest media report by Live Law, during the latest hearing of the matter, the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta appeared for the Union Government and highlighted two concerns. These two concerns included the need for fixing an outer time-limit for submitting claims as the counsel pointed out that without a time-limit, the process will go on endlessly.
The other point raised by the Government was the issue of fake medical certificates. It was pointed out by the Solicitor General that the Court had ordered that RT-PCR certificate was not necessary for claiming ex-gratia compensation and it can be obtained on the basis of a doctor's certificate.
However, such relaxation could be misused often, opined the Solicitor General.
Responding to these concerns, the top court bench also opined that there should be an outer time-limit for claiming compensation and noted, "There must be some time limit, otherwise the process will go endlessly, even for 5-6 years."
Further opining that the issue of fake medical certificates was very serious, the bench comprising of Justice Shah noted, "What is worrying is the fake certificate given by doctors… it is a very serious thing."
It was observed by the bench that an independent probe might be required for the State Government doctors and at this outset, Justice Shah sought the suggestions of the Senior Advocate R Basant (appearing on the behalf of the State of Kerala).
"Please suggest how can we curb the issue of fake certificates being issued by Doctors. It may take away someone's real opportunity," noted the bench.
The matter would now be heard on next Monday.
Barsha completed her Master's in English from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.