Staff Reporter

It should not hamper expeditious disbursement of compensation

“For the fault/default of the insurer or the insured, the poor third party victims/dependants cannot be made to suffer”

MADURAI: The Motor Vehicles Act needs to be amended in such a way that it does not stand in the way of expeditious disbursement of compensation to accident victims even if there are disputes between the insured and the insurer over violation of policy conditions or the question of liability, the Madras High Court Bench here has said.

Dismissing a civil miscellaneous appeal filed by New India Assurance Company, Justice N. Kirubakaran said insurance companies must be made to pay compensation to victims immediately after an award is passed by the tribunal concerned. Thereafter, the company could recover the amount from the vehicle owner depending upon the outcome of appeal proceedings.

In the present case, the judge disagreed with the appellant company that it was not liable to pay compensation to the children of a 55-year-old agriculturalist, who died in 2005 after being knocked down by a two-wheeler while walking on the roadside, contending that the two-wheeler rider did not possess a valid driving licence.

Agreeing that driving licence was not produced before the tribunal, the judge said: “For the fault/default of the insurer or the insured, the poor third party victims/dependants cannot be made to suffer. Having already undergone mental agony, pain and suffering by losing a member of the family, they cannot be made to wait endlessly for the compensation, which is aimed at consoling, comforting and compensating the victims.”

He rejected the appellant's claim that the award of Rs.3.17 lakh granted by the Aruppukottai Motor Accident Claims Tribunal at Virudhunagar to the five children of the deceased was excessive. The tribunal had rightly fixed Rs.2,000 as the victim's monthly contribution to the family, computed it for 11 years and arrived at Rs.2.64 lakh towards loss of dependency.

Mr. Justice Kirubakaran found nothing wrong in the tribunal fixing Rs.50,000 as compensation towards loss of love and affection. He pointed out that the five children had lost their mother even before the death of their father in the accident.

“Loss of parents and resultant parental care is a violation of human right. It is one of the rights being infringed by accidents. The love and affection shared between the parents and children cannot be valued or described…The care taken by the parents and the guidance given by them have no parallels and they cannot be valued in terms of money,” he added.