In a significant order, the Bombay High Court has ordered the police authorities to investigate as many as 51 cases of fake accidents claims filed in various tribunals across Maharashtra. The HC has also asked the authorities to check more such cases to ensure public money is not wasted.
A Bench of Justices Tanaji Nalawade and Mukund Sewlikar has also ordered the authorities not to spare anyone, be it doctors, police or even advocates, involved in this crime.
The Bench was dealing with a criminal public interest litigation (CRPIL) highlighting the menace of false claims being filed in tribunals by showing fake accidents and injury certificates
During a hearing last week, the Bench was informed that initially 15 false accident claim cases were flagged by a few tribunals. However, after a thorough probe was conducted, the police came across 51 such cases.
Having noted the numbers, the judges noted that the officers investigating the matter have not been acting suo-moto and probing the cases citing the fact that several such fake claims are pending before various tribunals.
The judges said the police had powers to probe matters wherein "cognizable" offences are made out.
"If the cognizable offence of such a nature is committed, there is no need
to obtain permission of the tribunal or civil court to investigate the matter. Even a police constable can report if some false record is noticed which can be used for deceiving somebody and action can be taken by police," the judges opined.
"In the present matters, there is much more than what is required for registration of crime. The police officer should take urgent and immediate steps in all the matters as the mischief was traced in 2015 but not much is done till today," the judges added.
The bench further noted that the primary probe showed that a private person, who was instrumental in preparing documents for the claims to be filed in the tribunals.
This is sufficient to create the probability that the police officers and the private person and the advocates were hand in gloves and they were creating and using the false record. When there is a seal of the police station on the false record, it cannot be believed that the seal was also prepared by the private man," the court said.
“Investigation needs to be made as such things are happening in Maharashtra. Further, the probe officer also needs to keep in mind that there is a possibility of joining hands with some other officers," the court added.
The bench further noted that doctors issue injury certificates, which are submitted before the tribunals to substantiate the fake accident claims. The court also said that advocates and also the insurance agents too are instrumental in pressing for such fake claims before the tribunals.