1. In the matter of your query pertaining to eligibility for benefits where no dependents are there to the deceased member, especially where it is the question pertaining to Provident Fund, Employee Deposit Link Insurance Scheme 1976 (EDLI) and gratuity benefits, the answers to your query are as under :-
(a) Provident Fund. In this case brother has to be the nominee of the deceased employee because of the following reasons :-
(i) Sec 10 (2) of The Employee Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, mentions about the nominee entitled to the amount standing to the credit of a member in the fund. Therefore the entitlement of brother to the claim of provident fund of the deceased colleague can arise only if the brother has been shown/reflected as a nominee in the records of the organisation where he worked.
(b) Employee Deposit Link Insurance Scheme 1976 (EDLI).
In this case brother has to be the nominee of the deceased employee /or person legally entitled to receive the claim because of the following reasons :-
(i) In the matter of Employee Deposit Link Insurance Scheme 1976 (EDLI), vide Para 23 of the scheme, it is mandated that the assurance amount shall become payable to such nominee or nominees.
(ii) Further, Para 23(2) of the scheme mentions that if no nomination subsists, the whole amount or the parts thereof which the nomination does not relate as the case may be, shall become payable to the members of his family in equal shares. The entitlement of brother does not figure in the provisions of Para 23(2) of the said scheme.
(iii) However, Para 23(3) of the said scheme mentions that in any case to which provisions of subparagraph(1) and (2) do not apply, the whole amount shall be payable to the person legally entitled to it. Now, the point is that the colleague who met with an accident was unmarried and had no dependent parents. There may be a case for a brother to claim entitlement under EDLI, if at all he can prove his case in front of Employee Fund Commissioner to be the person legally entitled to it.
(iv) For proving that the brother is legally entitled to claim EDLI, he is required obtain a legal Heir certificate. As far as Hindus are concerned, vide sec 3(f) of Hindu succession Act, 1956, ‘heir’ has been defined as any person, male or female, who is entitled to succeed to the property of an interstate under this Act. Vide sec 3(g) of Hindu succession Act, 1956, “Intestate”, a person is deemed to die interstate in respect of property of which he or she has not made a testamentary disposition capable of taking effect i.e in simple terms “Intestate”, means a person dying without writing any will. Further, Sec 8 of Hindu succession Act, 1956 deals with general rules of succession in the case of males, wherein Sec 8 (b) of the ibid Act mentions that if there are no heirs of class I, then upon the heirs, being the relatives specified in class II of the schedule. Incidentally, brother figures in class II of the schedule. However, all this is related to succession.
(v) Having said the above, it must be brought out that there is a difference between a succession certificate and legal heir certificate. If the head or a family member passes away, the next direct legal heir of the deceased such as wife/ husband/son/daughter/mother can apply for the Succession Certificate. This certificate can be used for the purpose of transferring Electricity connection, Telephone connection/Patta transfer, House Tax, Bank Account, Filing of IT Returns etc.
(vi) If the deceased person is a Government servant then the legal heir certificate is issued for approval of family pension, or to get appointments on concerned grounds. Legal Heir certificate is also provided for transfer of property- movable and immovable assets.
(vii) Legal Heir certificate is issued by Tahsildar of the District to identify living heirs of a particular deceased person and succession certificates are issued by the court to the legal heirs of a deceased person. The Madras High Court in the case of R Govindraj Vs The District Collector dated 12 Jan 2022 has ruled that Tehsildar can issue Legal Heir certificate to Class II Heirs.
(c) Gratuity Benefits.
In the matter of payment of gratuity, the gratuity payable to the employee shall be paid to his nominee in the case of the death of the employee or, if no nomination has been made, to his heirs vide proviso to Section 4 of Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972. Accordingly, the entitlement of brother to the claim of gratuity of the deceased colleague can arise only if the brother has been shown/reflected as a nominee in the records of the organisation where he worked or alternatively he proves his heirship two of proper legal heir certificate obtained from Tehsildar.