The Karnataka High Court has evolved a procedure by which without compromising on the safety and security, payments due to claimants and victims in Motor Vehicle Accident Claim cases, claimants under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1923 and claimants in Land Acquisition Compensation cases etc can be released.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty issued the guidelines as during the period of lockdown and partial functioning of the district and trial Courts in the State, the entry of litigants to the Court premises is not permitted.
Over Rs 100 crore is not released to claimants in the state from March.
During the period of limited functioning of the Courts due to pandemic COVID 19, following guidelines shall be adopted by all the Courts for making payments:
(i) The litigant who is entitled to receive the amount shall file an application giving all the details including the details of the decree/order of the Court under which he/she is entitled to withdraw the amount;
(ii) Along with the application, he/she must furnish the copies of several documents such as first page of the bank passbook containing the details of the bank account, such as the name of the bank, account number, name of the account holder and IFSC code of the bank. If the first page of pass book does not contain photograph of the account holder, a certificate of the Manager of the concerned Bank bearing photograph of the account holder and containing account details shall be produced;
(iii) The account must be in the name of the person who is entitled to withdraw the amount as per the Court order.
(iv) Along with the bank passbook, the applicant is required to furnish copies of PAN card/form 16, address proof and photo copies of the authentic identification documents such as Aadhar or election/ voter identity card or driving licence. The photo copies of the documents shall be self-attested as well as attested as true copies by his/her Advocate, if the applicant is represented by an Advocate;
(v) Along with the application, an affidavit in support shall be filed by the applicant containing all the account details, which are necessary for transfer of money. A latest photograph of the applicant shall be affixed near the signature on the affidavit. The affidavit must affirm the correctness of the documents produced along with the application. Along with the application and affidavit, the applicant shall submit a blank voucher for payment of judicial deposit duly signed by him. If there are more than one applicant, affidavits of all of them are necessary. The signature on the voucher shall be identified by an Advocate by affixing his/her signature below the words "signature of the claimant" or below the place for affixing the revenue stamp. Below the Advocate's signature for identification, he/she shall mention the Bar Council enrolment number. Few copies of the blank vouchers shall be made available by the Principal District Judge to the Bar Associations so that the members of the Bar can take photocopies of the same. The affidavit in support of the application must contain the statement that the blank voucher is signed by the applicant;
(vi) The applications shall be placed before the concerned Court for passing necessary orders. The Court will peruse the records and ascertain as to whether the person who has made the application is entitled to receive the amount and whether there is a stay order of the higher Court. In the event the Judicial Officer concerned finds the applicant is entitled to receive the amount, he/she shall verify the documents for ascertaining whether all the bank account details have been furnished, whether the bank account stands in the name of the applicant etc. The physical presence of the party who makes an application for the purposes of such verification is not necessary. Only when the Court entertains a serious doubt about the genuineness of the documents or finds discrepancies, which could not be explained by the Advocate for the applicant, only in such cases, the Court may insist on the presence of the person making the application either through video conferencing or by procuring physical presence. In cases where the personal presence is required, the Court will pass an Order for issuing entry passes to the person concerned to appear before Court on relevant date. The physical presence of a person making application should be secured only when it is absolutely necessary;
(vii) If the Court is satisfied on perusal of the application and the documents furnished that the applicant is entitled to receive the amount, the Court will pass an order directing transfer of the amount to the specific account of the applicant through K-2 process;
(viii) Thereafter, the Court office/accounts section, after logging on K-2 portal, will generate bank mandate form. Print out of the bank mandate form shall be 8 handed over to the Advocate for the applicant for the purpose of obtaining the signature of the party on the mandate form and the concerned Advocate shall countersign the same by verifying the signature of the party. He/she shall mention his/her Bar Council enrolment number below his/her signature. Physical presence of the party in the Court for signing the mandate form is not required. The mandate form must be returned with the maximum period of three days. Thereafter, the mandate form shall be signed by DDO. Further steps shall be taken by the Court office for generation of miscellaneous bills. As the mandate form containing all the account details is signed by the applicant, his/her signature on the miscellaneous bill is not required. Subsequently, all the procedures required by K-2 shall be followed and the requisite amount will be transferred directly from the judicial account in K-2 to the bank account of the concerned party.
(ix) The Courts cannot insist on the person receiving the money affixing his/her signature on any register.
(x) In the event the applicants are not represented by an Advocate, the payments cannot be made unless the applicants personally appear in the Court. In such cases, entry passes will have to be issued to them. But, the Courts shall ensure that second visit of the litigant is avoided and all the formalities are completed during one visit.
(xi) In case of orders pertaining to payment of maintenance in matrimonial matters, it will be appropriate if the concerned Courts issue directions for payment of maintenance by way of RTGS or in any other mode of direct transfer by the person who is liable to pay the maintenance to the account of the person who is entitled to receive the maintenance.
The court after issuing the guidelines said
"Due to pandemic of COVID-19, the litigants are not able to receive the payments for the last three months and therefore, all the Courts shall make an endeavor to dispose of the applications made for payment at the earliest and see that the eligible litigants can get the amounts at the earliest. The Courts cannot restrict the payments per day to a particular number of cases. While we issue these directions, we make it clear that it is the duty of the Courts to ensure that the amounts are paid to those who are entitled to it."
It has also directed the state government to ensure that quick access to K-2 is facilitated to enable the Courts to release the payment.
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