HC directs BBMP, Karnataka  govt to come up with system to verify death of persons through digitisation

The High Court of Karnataka has directed the Chief Commissioner of 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 Aadhaar.”

This was necessary, the HC said, “so that no error occurs in the details which are entered firstly by the hospital and secondly while issuing the death certificate.”

The direction by the bench of Justice Suraj Govindaraj came on a petition filed by Sai Lakshmi seeking rectification of the errors in the death certificate of her husband.

Her husband, Lakshmikantha S P, a primary school assistant master in Bagepalli in Chikkaballapura district, died on November 22, 2022 at Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology.

The death was registered on November 30, 2022 by the hospital in terms of a medical certificate issued in Form No.4.

Subsequently, the BBMP issued a death certificate on December 9, 2022.

The death certificate, however had several discrepancies, including the name of the mother of Lakshmikantha mentioned as “Vijaya Lakshmi Kantha’ instead of “Vijaya Lakshmi”. The father’s name was mentioned as “late P Reddanna” instead of “late Peddanna” while the name of the wife of the deceased was mentioned as “Peddanna” instead of “Sai Lakshmi”.

The woman filed an application for correction of the details which was rejected on ground that these details were entered by the hospital and therefore no correction can be made by the BBMP unless an order is obtained from the jurisdictional Court. The woman then approached the HC with a petition.

The HC noted that in the current state of things, “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.”

The HC therefore directed that a system be put in place for e-verification of all deaths.

“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 court said.

It further noted that “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.”

The HC has directed that the matter be relisted on December 14, 2023 so that the Chief Commissioner, BBMP and the Secretary e-Governance file a compliance report.

In the matter related to the death certificate of Lakshmikantha, the HC directed the Joint Director (Statistical), Births and Deaths and Assistant Joint Director, (Births and Deaths) BBMP to consider the application made by Sai Lakshmi for corrections and to issue a fresh death certificate within 20 days.

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