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                  DEATH CASES OF INDIAN NATIONALS

I.    DISPOSAL OF MORTAL REMAINS (LOCAL BURIAL/DESPATCH TO  INDIA)

  1.       Deaths, for functional purposes, are classified as follows :

  (i)    Natural death – Death due to natural reasons like old age, sickness or heart attack etc.

  (ii)   Unnatural death – Death due to murder, suicide, traffic accident, industrial  accident or other accidents like drowning, falling down, snake bite, sun stroke etc.

          On an average 2-3 death cases are registered in the Embassy at Riyadh (the Consulate General at Jeddah registers 1or 2 cases) on each working day.  All deaths of expatriates, whether natural or unnatural, are dealt by the local area police in Saudi Arabia and bodies are disposed off (i.e. local burial – in case of Muslims only or dispatched to India) with the approval of the local Governorate.

         Even though, under Saudi laws and regulations, the Saudi Sponsor is responsible, at his own cost, for the disposal of the dead body and completion of various formalities in this regard, the Indian Missions  pursue the matter with the sponsor and local authorities concerned so as to expedite the process.  After the disposal of mortal remains, the Missions are involved in pursuing the settlement of legal dues and death compensation cases, wherever admissible.

 2.       Mode of disposal of dead bodies  :

          While the dead body of a Muslim Indian national can be buried in the Kingdom or despatched to India in accordance with the  wishes of the family, the body of a non-Muslim is invariably despatched to India as the local Government normally does not allow local burial of non-Muslims in the Kingdom. However, in the following exceptional cases bodies are buried in the Kingdom irrespective of the religion.

          (1)       Dead body of an expatriate executed in the Kingdom;

(2)       Small Children;

(3)       Cases where family of a non-Muslim wants local burial in Saudi Arabia and d the sponsor manages to get the permission.

(4)   Dead bodies pending dispatch in the Kingdom for a long time    where response from family is not forthcoming for acceptance of bodies on arrival at the destination.  

(5)   Dead body is too mutilated to be dispatched, as a result of traffic/industrial accident etc.                

  3.      Action to be taken by the Next of Kin in India for disposal of a body

INFORMATION REQUIRED BY THE MISSION WITH THE FIRST INTIMATION

         When the Next-of-Kin from India report the death of an Indian national in the Kingdom they should ensure the following :- 

(1)   Provide full name, passport number,  address, telephone/fax number of the deceased;

(2).     Provide name and full address of the sponsor. viz, Post Box Number, City and his Telephone/Fax  numbers;

(3)       Date, place and cause of death;

(4)       Location (Hospital) of the dead body;

(5)      Name, address, Telephone/Fax nos. of the next-of-Kin in India;

(6)     Next of Kin (NOK) should also clearly indicate their willingness for disposal of body. In case the deceased was a Muslim, NOK should clearly indicate whether they want the body to be despatched to India or buried locally in the Kingdom. All the legal heirs should sign this consent and get it authenticated by a Gazetted Officer or the district authorities.

(7)    Bodies of non-Muslims are invariably despatched to India. Next of Kin should authorise the sponsor or a relative/friend of the deceased to collect the body from the hospital authorities and arrange despatch of body to India. The authorization should be signed by all the legal heirs viz. parents, wife etc., and their signatures should be authenticated by a Gazetted Officer or the district authorities.

(8)    AIRLINES REQUIREMENT FOR DESPATCH OF A DEAD BODY

The Next of Kin of the deceased who would like to receive the body in India should immediately contact Saudi Airlines Agent / GSA at the nearest International Airport and give their consent in writing for receipt of body indicating name, address and telephone number of the person authorized to receive the body on arrival. The NOKs should also ensure that the GSA/Agent should forward their consent to Saudi Airlines Cargo Office in Riyadh/Dammam. Please note bodies are booked by the Cargo Office only after obtaining the consent from the receiving end. 

        Saudi Foreign Ministry has intimated all Foreign Missions in the Kingdom that bodies of natural death cases will not be kept in mortuaries for more than two months from the date of death if the consent of the family is not received for disposal.

  Should a next-of-kin decide to bury the dead body of a Muslim within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in lieu of transporting it back, the notion that he may get some monetary compensation for savings that may have accrued to the sponsor on this account is incorrect and has no legal basis. 

          As soon as the first intimation of death, along with the relevant details,

is received by the Mission, either locally or from India, the Mission contacts

the sponsor on the same  day, advising  him to  complete necessary  local 

formalities  for issue of No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the Mission for

disposal of the body.

 4.   RECEIPT OF DEATH DOCUMENTS & ISSUE OF NOC :

Even though under the local regulations, Saudi sponsor is generally responsible for disposal of dead body and completion of various formalities connected with it, the Missions urge the Saudi sponsor to complete the formalities urgently so as to expedite disposal of the dead body.   Despite vigorous efforts put in by the Mission, it generally takes 4-6 weeks (even more) to receive the required documents, such as death certificate, medical report, police report, etc. in the case of a natural death and 6-10 weeks in cases of un-natural death, provided the Saudi sponsor is cooperative. In complicated cases and where the sponsor is unhelpful, the time taken is much longer.

      The sponsor is required to submit the following documents along with English translation, to the Mission for attestation and issue of its No Objection Certificate for disposal of body.

          1.                 Death Certificate;

2.                Medical Report;

3.                Police Report (in case of unnatural deaths);

4.                List of the belongings of the deceased.

5.                 Receipt of Labour Department showing that legal dues have been settled or deposit Legal Dues by cheque or cash directly at the Mission.

  5.       ATTESTATION OF DEATH DOCUMENTS  & ISSUE OF NOC

As soon as requisite legal/medical documents such as death certificate, medical report, police report with English translations thereof, passport of the deceased Indian national are received in the Mission, the same are attested across the counter (even if received during closed holidays) and necessary clearances issued for despatch of dead body to India or local burial in Saudi Arabia, as the case may be. 

 

 6.   COMPLETION OF REMAINING FORMALITIES BY SAUDI SPONSOR

  -        Permission of local Governorate  for Despatch of body/local Burial  

  -        Obtaining an exit visa on the passport of the deceased after obtaining a sealed letter from the police addressed to the Passport authorities. 

  -        Embalming of Mortal Remains and PreparationlSealing of Coffin, costing    SR.2000/- to SR.2500/- approx. (Rs.25,OOO/- to Rs.30,OOO/- approx.) to the Saudi sponsor.  

-        Confirmation of Cargo-space

Confirmation of Cargo Space is possible only after the Saudi Airlines Cargo office has received a direct confirmation from the family of the deceased Indian national,  their willingness to receive dead body  on arrival at the specified airport in India. The Saudi sponsor is also required to pay a sum of SR.2000/- to SR.3000/- (Rs.25,OOO/- to Rs.30,OOO/- approx.) towards air-freight, etc. The following documents are required to be carried by the Saudi sponsor to the Air Cargo office for booking the cargo : 

(1). Death Certificate in original, with English translation + 8 photocopies each;

(2). Medical Report in original, with English translation + 8 photocopies each;

(3). Passport of the deceased with 6 photocopies of all pages incl. the exit visa;

(4). Permission of the Governorate with English translation + 6 photocopies; and

(5). Letter of the mortuary to the Air Cargo authorities for confirmation of the cargo   space.

-  Booking of Air Cargo  A pick-up van or ambulance is required for transportation of coffin from the hospital to the Airport.  The coffin is required to be booked at least 6 hours before the actual departure of the flight..   A departure stamp is affixed on the deceased's passport.

 7.    INTIMATION OF FLIGHT DETAILS/DATE OF LOCAL BURIAL

In case of local burial, the date/time and place of burial are communicated at the earliest to the family.  For cases involving dispatch of mortal  remains,  the  flight  details  are  communicated  to the next of kin, authorities concerned in India as soon as ascertained from the Saudi sponsor.   Understandingly, the next of kin in India, also, in many cases, do not acknowledge receipt of dead body and ignore Mission’s various communications to save money on account of sending telegrams or faxes.  

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SETTLEMENT OF LEGAL DUES  OF DECEASED  INDIAN NATIONALS

The work involved in the settlement of Legal Dues and Death Compensation concerning deceased Indian nationals is directly related to the number of death cases registered (averaging 4 per working day) in the Indian Missions in Saudi Arabia.

The realisation of Legal Dues/Death Compensation is an arduous and time-consuming task keeping in view, the local regulations which involves compliance of  detailed legal requirements by the next-of-kin in India in accordance with prescribed procedure. 

 1.  Admissibility of Legal Dues :  

Except in a few cases, where legal dues might not be payable for reasons such as death of Indian  worker immediately after arrival and without taking up employment with the Saudi sponsor, in almost all other cases, Legal Dues in one form or the other are payable to the next of kin in India, irrespective of the nature of death.  

 2.  Composition of Legal Dues :

Legal Dues generally consist of one or more of the following :

i.       Unpaid salary;

ii.      Leave salary;

iii.     Service benefits such as gratuity, etc.;

iv.     Cash found in possession of the deceased;  and

vi.     Ex-gratia payment, if any, made by Saudi sponsor.

 3.   Procedure for claiming Legal Dues :

          As soon as the death of an Indian national is notified to the Mission, the Saudi sponsor is, interalia, asked to dispatch the personal belongings of the  deceased  to  his  family  in  India  as  well   as   arrange   payment  of outstanding Legal Dues admissible in respect of deceased Indian national by means of a cheque/demand draft issued in favour of the Mission  for onward transmission to the next-of-kin in India according to the procedure prescribed by the Government of India. 

 4.  Mode of Payment of Legal Dues :

     There is hardly any uniform method prevailing in Saudi Arabia pertaining to the settlement of Legal Dues concerning  expatriate workers. Various Saudi Governorates, and local authorities, especially in interior areas, have laid down their own regulations/procedures for the settlement of such dues.  The Mission has generally witnessed the following four modes of payment of Legal Dues concerning deceased Indian nationals:

 (i). Legal Dues received in the Misson through the Saudi Foreign Ministry :

       In most cases, the Saudi sponsors are normally required to work out the exact amount towards Legal Dues (unpaid salary, service benefits, cash found, etc.) in respect of deceased Indian national,  and deposit these dues with the local Labour office before the approval for disposal of dead body is given by the concerned local authorities i.e. police station, local Governorate, etc. Such Legal Dues are then transferred by local Labour office to the local Treasury office, who in turn transfers the amount deposited to the Main Treasury office in Riyadh.   The Legal Dues are finally received in the Embassy/Consulate in the form of Cheque/Draft through the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.    Despite vigorous follow up by the Mission, the Legal Dues are generally received in this Embassy in this manner after a delay of few months.

 (ii). Legal Dues received in this Embassy directly from the Saudi sponsors:

In some cases, the Saudi sponsors are allowed by various local Governorates to   directly deposit the Legal Dues  in the Mission, either in the form of Cash or Cheque/Draft, mostly at the time of attestation of  death documents by the Missin, for transmission to the legal heirs of deceased Indian national, according to GOI regulations.

 (iii). Legal Dues claimed through concerned Shariat Courts :

Sometimes, the Legal Dues are paid by Saudi sponsors to the concerned Saudi authorities i.e. Dept. of Civil Rights, Police Dept., Treasury offices, etc. who in turn transfer such amounts to the concerned Shariat Courts.   In  all such cases, the legal heirs of deceased Indian national are required  to  claim  the  Legal Dues through their attorney in Saudi Arabia, after  the  production of completed legal documents from India  Embassy's efforts to obtain Legal Dues through concerned Shariat Courts without fulfillment of legal requirements generally remains unsuccessful. 

 (iv). Legal Dues paid directly to the next of kin/family’s representative. etc. :

In several cases, after repeated reminders, the Mission  is finally informed by the Saudi sponsors that  the Legal dues have either been remitted directly to the next of kin in India or paid to the family's authorised representative (relative, friend, colleague, etc.) working in Saudi Arabia. 

  5.   Disbursement of Legal Dues to the next-of-kin in India

As soon as the Legal Dues (cash, valid cheque/draft in Saudi Riyals) of a  deceased Indian national are received  and  the amount has been credited into the Mission's account, the  equivalent amount in Indian Rupees, in the form of an RBI draft, is sent to  the district authorities concerned in India by registered post, under intimation to the next of kin.   The district authorities in India  are required to disburse the respective shares to the legal heirs on the basis of Legal Heirship Certificate issued by the  district/ revenue authorities of the State concerned and send the receipts to the Mission.

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 SETTLEMENT OF DEATH COMPENSATION CLAIMS

1.  Admissibility :

The Death Compensation (Blood Money or Diyya) is admissible  in cases of  unnatural deaths only such as  road/ traffic/ industrial/fire accidents, murder, etc. provided the responsibility or a part of it, is fixed by the  Saudi authorities concerned on a causer i.e. a person other than the deceased Indian national and that the person thus held responsible is in a position to pay the Death Compensation according to the provisions of the Shariat Law.  

2.  Inadmissibility of Death Compensation in some cases : 

        Death Compensation is not admissible in the following cases of unnatural deaths:

        Suicide cases;

        Deceased held fully responsible for his accidental death. (In many cases, deceased is held responsible, in part, which accordingly reduces the compensation amount.);

        Death of the causer at the same time in case of an accident;

        Untraceability of the causer, especially in a hit and run accident;

        Untraceability of camel owner(s) where traffic accidents are attributed to sudden arrival of camels on the roads;

        Fixing of responsibility on the causer is  waived due to technical reasons or mechanical failure of vehicle;

        Lightning, dust-storms, etc. which are treated as acts of God; and

        Agricultural workers are not entitled to compensation  in an industrial accident.

3.   Volume of work . 

 Around 70% of the total deaths registered in the Missions are unnatural.   Both, the Embassy & the Consulate handle settlement of Legal Dues and Death Compensation in their respective areas of jurisdiction. However, final records are maintained in the Embassy and almost all enquiries relating to settlement of Legal Dues/Death Compensation are received in the Embassy only.  

4. Mode of Pavment :    

 All Death Compensation cases (except industrial accidents) in Saudi Arabia are settled through concerned Shariat Courts in accordance with the Shariat Law.

5. Maximum Amount admissible : 

The maximum amount of Death Compensation (Diyya) generally admissible in Saudi Arabia,  in respect of road/traffic/fire accident, murder, etc. is as under:

Death Compensation in respect of a male person: 

i.        Muslim       -        SR. 100,000/-

ii.       Christian/Jew  - SR.50,000/-  

iii.      Other religions : such as  Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, etc. -  SR 6666.66

In the case of death of a female, death compensation allowed is equal to half the amount as admissible to males professing the same religion.   Further the amount of compensation admissible, is based on the percentage of responsibility fixed on the causer e.g. if the causer is held 50% responsible for the accident resulting in the death of a Muslim, the amount of Death Compensation admissible will be SR 50,000 only. 

6.  Ex-Gratia Payment :

In cases where it is not possible to claim the Death Compensation, the next of kin in India are suitably apprised of the position. In many such cases, bereaved families repeatedly approach the Mission for some monetary assistance to alleviate their financial difficulties and sufferings.  In deserving cases, the Mission makes arrangements to provide ex-gratia relief to the bereaved families. 

 Procedure for claiming Death Compensation, wherever admissible:

7. Police Investigation Report:

The first step in the settlement of Death Compensation case is getting the Police Investigation Report which determines the cause of death and fixes a percentage-wise responsibility on the causer, a person held responsible for the death. This report, which forms the basis of payment of Death Compensation (Blood Money or Diyya) to the legal heirs of the deceased Indian national, is generally received in this Embassy, through the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after several months from the date of death.  

In each case the Mission takes up the matter vigorously, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, requesting the local  authorities to ensure receipt of Police Report at the earliest possible.   As soon as the detailed Police Investigation Report, in Arabic, is received in this Embassy, the same is translated into English and studied carefully to ascertain the scope, if any, for collection of Death Compensation. 

8. Local Regulations concerning Causer :

Under the local regulations, the person held responsible for death in road/traffic accident, etc. is arrested. He is subsequently released, either on bail or when he deposits the prescribed amount of Death Compensation payable under the Shariat Law, according to his percentage of responsibility  determined by the concerned Saudi authorities.

However, in murder cases  the accused person is held imprisoned till a pardon (Tanazul) is obtained from the legal heirs of the deceased. Death penalty (Qisas) is imposed on the accused, if so desired by the legal heirs.

         In some cases, the causer is unable to pay the amount of Death Compensation due to his poverty and undergoes prescribed imprisonment in lieu thereof.  This is true of nationals of several third world countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc. However, this is seldom communicated, in writing, by the authorities here despite repeated reminders to ascertain the position regarding payment of Blood Money.

9. Requirement of Legal Documents from India :

In all cases, where Death Compensation is admissible, the legal heirs of deceased Indian national are required to file a personal claim by either appearing personally in the Shariat Court or through an attorney to claim the amount deposited in the local treasury office through lengthy Court proceedings.  In such cases involving other parties and where there is a scope for collecting the Blood Money, the Mission advises the legal heirs, by registered post/fax, to take the following action:

(1)    To obtain Legal Heirship Certificate (LHC) from the  district authorities concerned in India, incorporating names, relationship, date of birth, etc. of all legal heirs i.e. parents, spouse, children, etc.  A specimen of LHC is attached at Annexure ‘II.

(2)    To execute a General Power of Attorney (POA) duly signed by all legal heirs, including the guardian in case of minors, in favour of an individual of their  choice  (if  they  are  unable  to  come to Saudi  Arabia) as their attorney or the Ambassador of India in Saudi Arabia, in case no such person is available to the pursue their case on their behalf in the concerned Shariat Court.  The legal heirs are also required to authorize the  Ambassador through the POA to nominate any of the officers of the Mission to act on his behalf.   A specimen  of POA is attached at Annexure ‘III’.

(3)  The legal heirs are required to get the aforesaid documents  prepared in English, to be duly translated into Arabic. The English & Arabic versions are then required to be attested by the following authorities in India:

(a)   Department of Home Affairs / concerned District authorities/ State Govt. concerned;

(b)   Ministry of External Affairs, Consular Section, New Delhi; and

(c)    Saudi Embassy in New Delhi or Saudi Consulate in Bombay.

Attached herewith is a note containing   Guidelines  ( at Annexure I)  for the legal hairs along with specimen copies of the legal documents viz. LHC and POA, in the format acceptable to the local authorities here, in English & Arabic (at Annexure II & III).  

10.   Fixation of  Court Hearing Date and Settlement of cases :

As soon as completed documents are received, the Mission obtains further necessary attestations from the Saudi Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice as per local requirement. The Embassy also makes a provisional claim with the concerned Saudi authorities by sending a note verbale to the Saudi Foreign Ministry.   Thereafter,  Saudi authorities are immediately asked, through the Saudi Foreign Ministry, to fix a hearing date.        On the date of  hearing, the Mission's representative  visits the concerned offices along with completed legal documents, Ambassador's authorisation letter, file, etc. to attend the Court's proceedings. Most of the major cities which are frequently required to be visited by Embassy/Consulate officials, for a day or two, for the settlement of Death Compensation cases are generally between 300-1200 kms away from Riyadh/Jeddah. 

After the decision of the Court is pronounced, the Mission’s representative approaches the Civil Rights Department for getting the decision of the court implemented and for collecting the amount of Death Compensation.  This involves at least 2-3 separate visits.  As  soon as the Death Compensation amount is received,  it is deposited into  Mission's account and remitted to the district authorities concerned  in India, through RBI draft, for disbursement to all legal heirs of the deceased Indian national, in accordance with the prescribed procedure.

 

 

                     

Functions of     Community Welfare  Wing
Indians Workers Welfare    Fund
Medical Camps
Labour Disputes
Recruitment From India
Do's and Dont's for  Indian Workers Seeking Employment    in Saudi     Arabia
Procedures to be followed in case of  Death of an Indian National
Requirement of Documents    at Consulate for Burial
Documents Requirement  at Consulate for       Transportation of Dead body
Death Compensation Claims