MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here has devised a new methodology to ensure that Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) does not delay payment of compensation in motor accident claim cases. It has begun to direct the Corporation to deposit the money directly into bank accounts of claimants through electronic transfer of funds with a rider that the Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) must appear in court in case of failure to discharge the liability.
Justice N. Kirubakaran passed the orders while dismissing a series of appeals preferred by the TNSTC challenging awards passed by different motor accident claims tribunals. One of those appeals had been filed by the Corporation against an award of Rs. 2.29 lakh granted by a tribunal in Thanjavur on April 21 last to a minor boy who had suffered a fracture on his right thigh after he was knocked down by a bus while walking on a road margin on December 9, 2011.
Though the appellant had contended before the tribunal that the boy actually fell down when he attempted to board the bus through the front staircase, it failed to produce any evidence but for the bus driver’s statement. Hence, the tribunal held the driver guilty of rash and negligent driving and ordered compensation under different heads.
The counsel for the TNSTC contended that the amount of Rs. 20,000 awarded towards loss of income to the boy’s parents was unwarranted. However, Mr. Justice Kirubakaran rejected the contention and said: “When a minor boy had sustained injury and hospitalised, necessarily the parents have to look after him leaving their work. The period spent by the parents along with the minor boy during the treatment has to be taken into consideration and accordingly compensated.”
He directed the TNSTC to deposit the money directly in the bank account of the boy, J. Vignesh, represented by his father Jothivel, through National Electronics Funds Transfer (NEFT) or Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) by February 10. “In case of failure, the CMD as well as the Chief Financial Officer of the appellant corporation shall appear before this court on February 11,” the judge said, and directed the Registry to list the case on that day for reporting compliance.
The judge passed similar orders while dismissing another appeal preferred by the TNSTC challenging an order passed by a tribunal in Dindigul on March 1 this year awarding a compensation of Rs. 2.41 lakh to a passenger who suffered a fracture in the hand due to rash and negligent driving of a bus in which he was travelling on January 30, 2007. In that case too, the judge ordered that the compensation should be paid by NEFT/RTGS by February 10 failing which the CMD and the CFO should appear in person.
In another case, the judge not only dismissed the TNSTC’s appeal but also enhanced the compensation awarded by a tribunal in Tirunelveli on September 30 last to a bicycle rider from Rs. 6.47 lakh to Rs. 9 lakh and ordered that the amount should be paid directly in his account through NEFT/RTGS by February 9. The cycle rider, Murugan, had suffered 70 per cent disability after being knocked down by a TNSTC bus on Tirunelveli-Courtallam Main Road on October 28, 2014.