CLAIMS TRIBUNAL

Claims Tribunal is defined under Chapter XII in Section 165 of Motor Vehicle Act 1988, which sanctions the State Government to initiate Claims Tribunals to adjudicate on the claims for compensation which comes from motor vehicle accidents, ensuing the death or bodily injury to the persons or damage to any property of third party.

Main purpose of the Claims Tribunal is to make sure the speedy trial of cases and justice is being delivered. The claimant should apply to claim within a suitable period. According to Section 173, the appeals against Claims Tribunals will lie before the High Courts. Appeals have to be filed within 90 days from the date of the settlement of case. In case if the claimant gets late in filing of appeal then he has to give a reasonable reason for such delay. If the court gets satisfied, it will admit the appeal. In case the appeal have disputed amount less than Rs. 10, 000/- then it shall not be entertained.



Tribunal had directed the claimant to bear all the expenses of lawyers of opponents while allowing application for appointment of commission for examination of doctor but opponents shall bear their own expenses for going to the place of commission. The tribunal had wide powers of recording evidence, but such powers should be exercised by tribunal for doing justice to the party.


KAILASH CHANDRA SHARMA vs E.GURUNATH & ORS. 17th January, 2007

After scrutiny of the provisions of Section 169 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, the Court has doubtless, wide powers while deciding the procedure for deciding claim cases and as per Sub-section (2) of Section 169, the Tribunal shall be deemed to be a civil Court for all the purposes of Section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. From reading of this section, it appears that for recording evidence, the Tribunal has wide powers, but such powers are to be exercised by the Tribunal for doing justice to the party.



KRISHNA REDDY vs K. RAMULAMMA & Ors. 15th July,2007

There is no standard in any of the two arguments advanced on behalf of the petitioner. Section 169 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, deals with procedure and powers of the Claims Tribunals. Section 169(1) provides that in holding any enquiry under Section 168, the Claims Tribunal may, subject to any rules that may be made in that behalf, follow such summary procedure as it thinks fit. Section 169(2) of the Act further provides that the Claims Tribunal shall have all powers of a Civil Court for the purpose of taking evidence on oath and of enforcing the attendance of witnesses and of compelling discovery and production of documents and material objects and for such other purposes as may be prescribed. Claims Tribunal shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for all the purposes of Section 195 and Chapter 26 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Act 2 of 1974).


Its main objective is to provide remedy to the victims of accident by motor vehicles in an appropriate time without any delaying tactics. Motor Accident Claims Tribunals [MACT Courts] handle those claims which are in relation to the loss of life/property or those injury cases arising out of Motor Accidents.



Here are some of the important proposals in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill:

1) Aadhar mandatory for getting a driving license and vehicle registration.

2) For deaths in hit-and-run cases, the government will provide a compensation of upto Rs.2 lakh or more to the victim's family. Presently, the amount is just Rs.25000

3) Traffic violations by juveniles, the guardians or owner of the vehicle would be held liable, unless they prove the offence was committed without their knowledge or they tried to prevent it.

4) Minimum fine for drunk and driving has been increased from Rs.2000 to Rs.10000

5) Bill mandates automated fitness testing for vehicles.

6) Bill allows Central Government to order for recall of motor vehicles if some defect in vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver, or other road users.

7) Bill provides for a National Road Safety Board, to be created by the Central Government through a notification. Board will counsel the Central and State Governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management, including the standards of motor vehicles, registration and licensing of vehicles, standards for road safety, and promotion of new vehicle technology.

8) Bill provides a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour.



Some of the offences that are covered under the original Motor Vehicle Act include:


Ø Driving without a license.

Ø Allowing someone without a license to operate a vehicle owned by you.

Ø Not owning all of the relevant documentation required to operate a motor vehicle on roads.

Ø Driving without insurance.

Ø Driving without a permit if required.

Ø Driving without a vehicle fitness report.

Ø Driving without a registration certificate or R.C.

Ø Operation of a vehicle by minor.

Ø Allowing an unauthorized individual to operate your vehicle.

Ø Riding certain motor vehicles without a helmet.

Ø Driving without securing your seat belt.

Ø Driving over the speed-limit and rash driving.

Ø Dangerous driving on road.

Ø Driving against the flow of traffic in one way lane.



When can compensation be claimed?

There is no prescribed time limit given within which claim application has to be filed. But claiming the compensation after a long period of time might result in raising doubts in the minds of the Tribunal. Consequently, there is no prescribed time limit to apply for the compensation. It should be claimed within reasonable time period.

According to Section 165(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 Claims Tribunal can entitle compensation to claimant in the following circumstances –

i) The accident involves death or bodily injury to a person.

ii) The accident results in the loss of any property of a third party.

iii) Such accidents arise out of use of motor vehicles.


Where can compensation be claimed?

The application for claim that can be filed in following tribunals are as follows:

i) Claims Tribunal where claimant occupy.

ii) Claims Tribunal where owner of the vehicle occupy.

iii) Claims Tribunal where the accident took place.



Motor Accident Claim Cases In India

RAJ KUMAR vs. AJAY KUMAR

In this case, when the question of correlation between physical condition suffered in an accident and the loss of earning capacity resulting from it was raised before the Supreme Court, it held that the outcome of physical disability on the earning capacity of the victim is to be ascertained.


NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY LTD. vs. PRANAY SETHI

In this case, the Supreme Court legislated the guidelines for evaluating the amount of compensation to be paid by the offender to the accident victims who are self-employed, or have fixed salary, or have a permanent salary. The Court had held that the idea of ‘just compensation’ must be based on reasonableness, equity, and fairness.



Conclusion

All Laws are made only for the benefit of the people. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is made to prevent the accidents, which is a very important law that requires serious implementation. However, it is not only the Government that has to work towards some of its implementation but the public as well. Every person must make sure that he does not violate his provisions because in true sense it is the act of a person that results in an accident.



This article is written by Kanika, of Lingayas Vidyapeeth.

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