Mumbai Local

Lawyers oppose amendments to Motor Vehicles Act

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill — which seeks to make a number of changes to the existing Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — was approved by the Union Cabinet and introduced in the Lok Sabha in the first week of August. The Bill has made amendments to 68 of 223 sections and introduced a new chapter to simplify the processing of third-party insurance claims. But the Bill faces some opposition.

According to Bar Association of Motor Accident Claim Tribunal (MACT) Mumbai, the Bill “promises to take the country back to old days by capping the liabilities of insurance companies to a few lakhs of rupees. To make matters worse, the provision related to liability without fault has been completely removed depriving the victims the small relief of receiving interim compensation during pendency of the main matter.”

Sushil Parab, secretary of Bar Association, said, “In 2011 when the UPA government tried to pass the bill Nitin Gadkari who was the transport minister that time opposed the proposed bill on the basis that it will adversely affect the interest of unfortunate road accident victims and their heirs as well as owners of the vehicles. But now he is in favour of implementing the proposed bill.” The Bar Association made an appeal to the general public, and especially transport personnel and their associations, to oppose the passage of the proposed amendment bill in the interest of general public at large.

“In the Act, liability of the insurance companies is unlimited and whereas in the proposed amendment bill at the behest of insurance companies, the government is trying to limit the liability of insurance companies to the extent of five lakh rupees in case of grievous injuries and 10 lakh rupees in case of death. The proposed bill is silent as to from whom the remaining amount of compensation to be recovered.” said senior council of the High Court, Mendon T. J. Mr. Menon also said that in the existing Act, drivers, cleaners, conductors and other employees of goods vehicle are covered and that there is a statutory liability as given by the statute, and owners of the vehicles are not required to pay additional premiums. “To the extent of workman compensation liability they are covered. But in the proposed amendment Bill they are left with no compensation and no statutory protection.”

Senior advocate Navin Seth said, “The proposed bill has given the entire power to the police, and the courts will become redundant. The Act provided that the police in whose jurisdiction accident taken place should forward papers giving all particulars of owner of vehicle and insurance particulars to the concern claim tribunal where district judges of around 20 to 25 years’ experience hear and decide the claim. But the new amendment bill has proposed to give authorisation to police officer to facilitate settlement of the claim which may lead to Pandara’s Box for corruption at all level.”

The writer is an intern with The Hindu

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 8:33:20 PM |

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