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Report No. 137

4.12. Need for cultivating sympathetic attitude with desire to assist the claimant.-

So often claims preferred by the claimants are rejected in an arbitrary fashion exhibiting total back of sympathy for the claimant in distress and sensitivity for his or her suffering. These remarks are more than warranted in the light of the observations of the Gujarat High Court in Imambhai Gulamhusein Sheikh v. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, 1982 (1) GLR 581 (583-584), para. 3.-

"3. A few observatiOns regarding the working in the office of the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner,are called for having regard to the facts revealed by the present petition. The Regional Provident Fund Commissioner has passed a one line order rejecting the application of the petitioner without examining the matter in-depth, without holding any inquiry and without considering the question with the seriousness that it deserves.

It ought to have been realised that the claim was being made by a nominee' of a deceased workman and by the very nature of things, he could not be expected to incur legal expenditure in order to secure his claim. Such matters are required to be dealt with sympathetically and in the right spirit, that is to say, informed with a desire to be helpful. There should not be an anxiety to reject without a close scrutiny and drive the applicant to seek relief in a Court of Law.

If the Department were to function in this manner the whole object of the benevolent legislation would be defeated. Rejecting the application is the last thing that the competent authority would be expected to do and not the first thing on the slightest pretext.

Before rejecting the claim the competent authority would be required to afford an opportunity to the applicant in regard to any aspect which, in the opinion of the competent authority, creates a hurdle in the way of the applicant who is entitled to the amount standing at the applicant wh9, is entitled to the amount standing at the credit of the deceased workman. If necessary, the competent authority could also seek legal advice in order to re-assure himself. But, in any case, he must not be in a haste to reject the application as has been done in the present case without holding any inquiry and without examining the matter closely and carefully."

We accordingly recommend that a provision should be made obliging the competent authority- (1) to examine the claim of a claimant carefully and sympathetically in-depth with the anxiety to afford relief, if possible, instead of evincing hurry to dispose of claim by rejecting it, and providing that

(2) no claim shall be rejected without hearing a claimant and passing a reasoned order, a copy of which shall be served on the claimant free of cost.

(3) Gross negligence or callous indifference shown by any officer resulting in unwarranted delay in making payment to a claimant should be treated as serious misconduct liable to entail dismissal or removal of the concerned official from service.

Need for creating Office of Ombudsman and for Evolving Legislative - Administrative measures Inter alia to relieve hardships caused by Inordinate Delays in settling Provident Fund claims of Beneficiaries Back

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