Supreme Court Raps UP Bar Council For Inaction On Lawyer Insurance Fraud

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The Supreme Court has rapped the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh for not taking action against advocates who allegedly submitted fake claims under the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal and Workmen Compensation Act, causing a loss of crores of rupees to insurance companies.

It is very unfortunate that in such a serious matter, where the allegations are of filing of fake claim petitions involving advocates, the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh is not giving instructions to them for making submissions, the Supreme Court said.

A bench of Justices of India MR Shah and AS Bopanna said it shows the callousness and insensitiveness on the part of the UP Bar Council and asked Chairman of Bar Council and senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra to look into the same.

“As such it is the duty of the Bar Council of the State to take action against the advocates who are found to have been indulged in such unethical manner by filing the fake claims under the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal and Workmen Compensation Act,” the bench said.

“As observed herein above, it appears that Bar Council of State is not interested in taking action and, therefore, now the Bar Council of India has to step in and take appropriate action against the erring advocates, who are found to have indulged into filing of such fake claims,” the bench continued.

The Supreme Court also directed a Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted in compliance of the order dated October 7, 2015 passed by the Allahabad High Court, to submit a report with regard to the probe, in a sealed cover, on or before November 15.

The Supreme Court took note of a supplementary affidavit filed on behalf of UP government stating that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted in compliance of the order dated October 7, 2015 passed by the Allahabad High Court.

The bench noted that the ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited forwarded cases of suspicious claims related to various insurance companies forwarded by the District Judge Raebareli, cases referred to the SIT by various courts and the High Court, cases of suspicious claims of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal and Workmen Compensation Act referred to by various Insurance Companies.

“The SIT has received total 1,376 complaints/cases of suspicious claims. It is stated that out of total 1,376 cases of suspicious claims received by SIT, enquiry of 246 cases of suspicious claims has been completed till date and after having found prima facie offence of cognizable offence in nature against total 166 accused persons which includes petitioners/applicants, advocates, police personnel, doctors, insurance employees, vehicle owners, drivers etc. and total 83 criminal complaints have been registered in various districts,” the bench noted. The affidavit further stated that the enquiry of remaining cases of suspicious claims is underway.

The Supreme Court, in its October 5 order, also took note of the submission that out of total criminal complaints registered so far, investigation of 33 criminal cases has been completed and legal process of submitting charge sheet against the accused persons is underway.

The court said that SIT was constituted pursuant to the order passed by the Allahabad HC for conducting enquiry and investigation of the cases related to causing loss in crores of rupees to insurance companies as far back from 2015 and, despite the same, the investigation/enquiry has not been completed till date.

The bench said that it is very unfortunate that even the SIT has not taken the prompt action and has not completed the investigation/enquiry.

“The manner and the speed in which the enquiry is going on and is underway is deprecated. The State of UP / SIT is hereby directed to file a better affidavit in a sealed cover with respect to complaints filed/enquiry completed, the names of the accused, where the criminal complaints are filed and in which criminal cases the charge sheets have been filed,” concluded the bench.

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