24 Nov 2023 8:45 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has directed Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Secretary of e-governance to come up with a system of verifying the identification of the person who is dead on the basis of e-KYC like usage of Aadhar etc, so that no error occurs in the details which are entered firstly by the hospital and secondly while issuing the death certificate.A single judge bench...
The Karnataka High Court has directed Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Secretary of e-governance to come up with a system of verifying the identification of the person who is dead on the basis of e-KYC like usage of Aadhar etc, so that no error occurs in the details which are entered firstly by the hospital and secondly while issuing the death certificate.
A single judge bench of Justice Suraj Govindaraj said, “Whenever a death occurs in a hospital the entries made by the hospital are taken to be sacrosanct and the death certificate issued. I am of the considered opinion that the said process can give rise to several anomalies and can be misused.”
Following which it said, “It would be required that even at the stage when initial entry is made, the identity of the person who has expired is established and the necessary documentation is made in a proper way.”
Directing the authorities to come up with the system of verifying the bench said, “It would also be required that certificates like birth and death certificates are credentialised and digitised to enable e-verification as also to be used in the DigiLocker application so that any third party before such certificate is produced can easily verify the same to be genuine or not.”
The directions were given by the court while allowing a petition filed by one Sai Lakshmi who had approached the court after discrepancies were found in her husband’s death certificate, one late Lakshmi Kantha.S. P who was a Primary School Assistant Master at the Government school in Bagepalli, Chickballapura District who expired on 22.11.2022.
On finding the discrepancies she had made an application to BBMP for making necessary corrections. However, by endorsement dated 23.1.2023, the request made by the petitioner was rejected on the ground that these are the details entered by the hospital and no correction can be made by the BBMP, unless an order from the jurisdictional Court is obtained.
On a query made by the court, the counsel for BBMP explained the procedure adopted in the event of a death occurring in a hospital. He said since entries are made by the hospital authorities, no cross verification is done by BBMP under the premise that the entries made by the hospital is proper and correct.
Referring to Rule 11 of the Karnataka Registration of Birth and Death Rule, 1999, which pertains to Correction or cancellation of entry in the register of births and deaths, the court said, “In terms of sub-Rule (1) of Rule 11 whenever it is reported to the Registrar that a clerical or formal error has been made in the register, the Registrar shall enquire into the matter and if satisfied that any such error has been made, he shall correct the error, by correcting or cancelling the entry as provided in Section 15 and shall send an extract of entry showing the error now corrected to the State Government or Tahsildar or Commissioner or Chief Officer, Municipal Corporation/Council.”
Following which it held, “The said Rule 11 on a reading in its entirety does not require any order passed by a Court of law directing the Registrar to make correction before such correction is made. The Registrar has been conferred with enough and sufficient powers to examine the documents concerned and make corrections and there are checks and balances which have been incorporated in the said rule that once such correction is made it is to be forwarded to the concerned authorities, so that the same is to their knowledge and they could take any action, if a false correction is made.”
Court said issuance of the birth certificate or death certificate has several civil connotations in as much as without a birth certificate, a person cannot be said to be born, and without a death certificate, a person cannot be said to be dead in order to obtain legal remedies in relation thereto. "Thus, even though a person may be actually dead, a certificate of death is required for the purposes of accessing the Bank Account, availing any benefit under a scheme propounded by the government, claiming insurance etc."
The bench observed, “It would be of paramount importance that these certificates are issued in a proper and required manner so as to enable a citizen of the country to make use of the said certificates for any purpose that it may be required.”
Allowing the petition the bench said, “The demand made by the Medical Officer of Health that an order of Court is required to be obtained is not justifiable, minor errors in data entry need not result in a litigation for courts of law to consider them. Every aspect of human life being digitised and the existence or otherwise of a human being now being determined on the basis of electronic and digital data available, there are bound to be some genuine/bonafide data entry errors which would have to be rectified by the concerned officers instead of constraining citizens to approach a court of law.”
Following which it directed respondents 3 and 4, to consider the documents which have been submitted by the petitioners, verify the authenticity thereof and thereafter carry out the necessary correction in the death certificate in question and issue a fresh death certificate within a period of 20 days.
Appearance: Advocate Puneet Kumar A for Petitioner
AGA B.P. Radha for R1.
Advocate Pawan Kumar for R2 TO R4.
Citation No: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 448
Case Title: Sai Lakshmi And Chief Registrar of Births and Deaths & Others
Case No: WRIT PETITION NO. 6605 OF 2023
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