GUWAHATI, June 8 – Taking serious note of the rampant violations of provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act-1988 in matters of settlement of motor accident cases, the Gauhati High Court has asked the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT), the District and Sessions Judge, Kamrup, Assam, and the Chief Judicial Magistrates, to take necessary steps for compliance of the Supreme Court guidelines in this regard.
As per SC guidelines, the accident information report (AIR) in Form No 54 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules-1989 must be submitted by the police station officer concerned to the jurisdictional MACT within 30 days of the registration of the FIR.
In addition to the particulars required to be furnished in Form No 54, the police should also collect and furnish the particulars concerning (a) the age of the victims at the time of the accident, (b) the income of the victim, and (c) the names and ages of the dependent family members.
The directions to the MACTs require the tribunals to maintain an institution register for recording the AIRs which are received from the police station officers. The tribunals will then list the AIRs as miscellaneous petitions, and fix a date for preliminary hearing so as to enable the police to notify such date to the victim/family of the victim in the event of death, and the owner, driver and insurer of the vehicle involved in the accident.
Noting that many tribunals — instead of holding an inquiry into the claim by following the suitable summary procedure as mandated by Sections 168 and 169 of the Act — tend to conduct accident cases like regular civil suits, the SC directive asked the tribunals to avoid such practices.
“The tribunal shall take an active role in deciding and expeditious disposal of the applications for compensation and make effective use of Section 165 of the Evidence Act, 1872 to determine the just compensation,” it said.
In the directive to the insurance companies, the apex court held that in case of death where the liability of the insurer is not disputed, the insurance companies should, without waiting for the decision of the MACT or a settlement before the Lok Adalat, pay compensation to the family of the deceased as per standard formula determined by the decisions of the Supreme Court.
The SC directives also asked the tribunals to put in place safeguards for ensuring that the full compensation amounts reach the victims’ families. “…unscrupulous relatives, agents and touts are taking away a big chunk of compensation by ingenuous methods – directions are issues to tribunals to ensure that the compensation amount is kept in fixed deposit,” it said.