The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to enact the National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board Bill 2010 for creation of a National Road Safety and Traffic Management Board (NRSTMB) to provide for increased compensation to victims of road accidents.
A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justices Rangan Gogoi and N.V. Ramana noted that the Bill was now pending consideration before a parliamentary standing committee.
The Bench quoting statistics said, “Road crashes cost approximately one to three per cent of a country’s Gross Domestic Product. The facts would leave no room for doubt that Indian roads have proved to be giant killers demanding immediate attention and remedial action. Such attention and necessary intervention, in the first instance, is required to be made by the concerned governmental agencies.
“While there is no reason for any scepticism over the abundant concern shown by all concerned to the issues highlighted and also the attempted solutions both in the field of law enforcement as well as amendments in the law, besides limited experiments in providing better after trauma care, for reasons that need not detain the court, the results so far have not been very encouraging. The accident and casualty graphs continue to run on an even keel over the last several years.”
The bench said under the proposed Bill “the maximum annual income for calculation of compensation is proposed to be fixed at Rs.1 lakh as against the present amount of Rs. 40,000. The minimum compensation amount payable is increased to Rs. 1 lakh from the erstwhile Rs. 50, 000. In case of death of non-earning person, the Schedule fixes the compensation at Rs. 1 lakh for children upto 5 years of age and at Rs. 1.5 lakh for persons more than 5 years of age. Where such a person is grievously injured in an accident, the maximum compensation that may be awarded is Rs. 50,000. In case of non-grievous injuries, the non-earning person may be awarded a maximum compensation of Rs. 20,000. The Bill also seeks to enhance the general damages payable in case of death and disability”.
The Bench said, “In so far as suitable amendments to the laws are concerned, this Court can only hope and trust that all such changes or amendments which are presently under legislative consideration would be expedited and measures as may be considered necessary by legislature in its collective wisdom will be brought in the statute book in due course. The bench directed the matter to be posted for further hearing after six months.”