Touts in courts

THE SUPREME Court recently ordered that one lakh people be paid interim relief of Rs 200 per month. The total amount these victims will get as interim relief of Rs 7,200 for which they need a pass book issued by the State Gas Relief Department.
Touts operating in collusion with relief officials charge Rs 1,000 for expediting the release of the pass books. Victims who refuse to grease their palms are forced to make several trips to the department before they get their pass books, says Hamida Bee, a victim.
Persons going to a claims court are required to present medical records. Touts hang around the courts and offer categories on the courts and offer categories on the basis of an examination by a "doctor" sitting conveniently nearby.Claimants can also hire a lawyer to present their case and the lawyer would then strike a deal with the judge to award the highest possible compensation for the category and award the person a higher compensation.
When interim relief was first sanctioned in May 1990 to five lakh people by the V P Singh government, touts demanded Rs 30-50 for a pass book. Many victims paid this amount in order to get their money released soon.

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