1. Legal dues of the deceased
(i) Once a worker is reported dead while under the sponsorship of Saudi employer, it is the duty of the sponsor to pay to the family (Next of Kin -NOK) of the deceased worker (i) the legal dues (HUQOOQ) which are comprised of (i) unpaid salary, (ii) End of Service Benefit, and (iii) any other admissible allowances.
(ii) Legal dues can also be settled by the sponsor directly with the family members of the deceased.
(iii) Indian Embassy/Consulate issues NOC for disposal of mortal remain only after receiving from the employer the proof of settlement/depositing of legal dues with the Labour Office/ or undertaking that Legal Dues will be settled soon.
(iv) However, the sponsors can also deposit these in the form of cheque/DD drawn in favour of Ambassador of India, Riyadh or Consulate General of India, Jeddah, through various Saudi Labour offices in the Kingdom.
(v) Once the legal dues are received in the Mission’s Bank Account, Indian Embassy/Consulate, shall forward the same to the concerned District authorities in India, by way of SBI cheque, for disbursing to the NOK, and keep the NOK informed by email/fax/letter.
2. Death Compensation
(1.) Admissibility and Procedure
(i) In the case of murder and unnatural deaths such as in fire, industrial or road accident, etc. the legal heirs of the victims may be entitled to claim death compensation (blood money/diyya) from the causer of the death, depending upon the degree of responsibility.
(ii) Murder cases: In murder cases, the victim’s family, if they chose to do so, could seek blood money (diyya) in return for granting pardon to the accused, which will be processed through Saudi judicial channels.
(iii) Accidental Death:
(a) If the death occurs due to work related reasons, death compensation is payable by GOSI in respect of the worker insured with the GOSI occupational Hazards Branch. As GOSI only deals with the NOK directly, the legal heirs are required to approach GOSI with the relevant documents.
(b) If the employee is not insured and the death is due to work related accident attributable to working conditions or negligence of the employer, the employer is liable to pay death compensation.
(iv) Suicide: In suicide cases since the deceased himself is responsible for death, death compensation is not admissible.
(v) Domestic workers are not entitled to death compensation unless there is insurance coverage (in case of drivers, etc.)
(vi) The death compensation is paid by the causer of the accident or the Insurance Company, where there is insurance cover and the company is liable to pay, to the legal heirs of the deceased as per responsibility fixed on the causer by the police authorities, and as decided by the courts.
(vii) If the deceased himself is 100% responsible for the accident, there are no chances of getting any death compensation except the insured sum, if any.
(viii) If the causer of death is a poor non-Saudi and once his poverty is proven in the Shariah court, he will be released and deported to home country and legal heirs are not able to get any compensation.
(ix) Death compensation has to be realised by approaching the designated Shariah Court by the legal heirs or the authorised representative with the prescribed legal documents.
(x) The Courts after conducting court hearings will decide on the admissibility and quantum of the compensation, and pass orders releasing the compensation amount.
(xi) On receipt of the intimation (file) of the death of the deceased from the Saudi Foreign Office/Saudi authorities, the report is examined by the Embassy/Consulate for ascertaining the percentage of responsibility fixed on the causer and the deceased, in order to advise the family on the admissibility of death compensation.
(xii) Where death compensation is admissible, the NOK is requested to prepare legal documents in the prescribed format and to indicate their option either for authorizing someone known to them in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or to the Embassy/ Consulate to pursue death compensation case in the Shariah Court.
(2). Documents required for pursuing the death compensation claims
(1.) The following documents are required for pursuing death compensation claims. (Specimens of these are available on the website of the Embassy).
(i) Legal Heirship Certificate: This should be obtained from the competent district authorities and should indicate the names, in FULL EXPANDED FORM (not initials) of all legal heirs including minors. Relationship of legal heir(s) with the deceased should be clearly mentioned.
(ii) Power of Attorney:
(a) This should be executed and signed by all the legal heirs mentioned in the legal Heirship Certificate, including minor children.
(b) Those who cannot sign should put their thumb impression.
(c) Legal heirs should execute PoA in favour of the relative/ friend/ representative or any other person in Saudi Arabia, who may be able to attend the court proceedings on their behalf.
(d) In murder cases, where the legal heirs wish to pardon the causer by receiving death compensation, a separate clause mentioning this intent is to be added.
(2.) The above mentioned documents should be translated into Arabic and attested from the following concerned authorities in India.
(a) Authorized Officers of the concerned State Government (Home or General Administration Department, Secretariat).
(b) Ministry of External Affairs, CPV Division, Patiala House, New Delhi – 110 001.
(c) Saudi Embassy, New Delhi or Saudi Consulate, Mumbai.
(d) (Additionally, the NOK are advised to provide information such as names of the father and grand-father of the legal heirs of the deceased, proof of religion etc. Though, it is generally not required, yet, may be asked for by the authorities during the hearing process in the public courts and if available, this information helps in early disposal of the case.
(3.) It may be noted that in case the legal heirs execute the PoA in the name of any person other than the Ambassador /Consul General of India, then the case is to be pursued by that person in the Public Court and the Embassy or Consulate’s role ceases.
(4). In case the Embassy/Consulate has been nominated as legal attorney, as soon as the complete requisite documents are received by the Embassy/Consulate from NOK, the Saudi Foreign Office is requested to fix the hearing date in the Public Court. (In case, it is not done within a few months, the Mission periodically reminds them). Once the hearing date is fixed and conveyed to the Embassy/Consulate, a representative of the Embassy or Consulate, as the case may be, attends the court hearing till its conclusion. However, compensation cases in Saudi Arabia involve an extremely lengthy and cumbersome process and in certain cases it takes even years to get disposed of.
(5) Once the Judge of Shariah court delivers the judgement, and after the causer deposits the money with the Baitul Mal (Govt. Treasury) or any authority specified by the court, cheque is issued by them in favour of the attorney who is required forward the same to the legal heirs.
(6) Where the Embassy/Consulate is the attorney, after the compensation amount is received in the Bank Account of the Mission, the Indian Embassy/Consulate shall be forward the same to the concerned District authorities in India, by way of SBI cheque, for disbursing to the NOK, and keep the NOK informed by email/fax/letter.
(3). Constraints in Realising Death Compensation Claims
Death compensation cases involve an extremely lengthy and cumbersome process and in some cases it takes even years. Some of the reasons for death compensation cases remaining protracted or inconclusive are:
(i) Transfer of the place of residence or work of the causer of the accident away from the place where the case is pending
(ii) Non-depositing of the money with the Bait ul Maal/concerned authority by the causer, or non-intimation of the same by the said authority
(iii) Non-attendance of the court hearings by the Causer.
(iv) Absence of Judges due to leave/transfer, etc.
(vi) Non-availability of record-file in the Public Court.
(vii) Non-submission of relevant files by the local authorities.
(viii) Report on the percentage of responsibility for accident is inconclusive.
(ix) Where identify of the causer is unknown(such as in hit-and-run cases)
(x) Non-receipt of legal documents from NOK.