Tamil Nadu

HC brings about shift in accident compensation claim procedures

The Madras High Court has ordered a major shift in procedures adopted to claim and pay motor accident compensation in the State. It has directed all tribunals to treat detailed accident reports uploaded by the police on the Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) portal as claim petitions without waiting for the victims to file such petitions.

Justice S.M. Subramaniam issued the directions to simplify procedures for obtaining compensation, avoid bogus claims and ensure speedy disposal of claims. The judge pointed out that Section 166(4) of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 empowers the tribunals to treat accident reports as an application for compensation but hardly any tribunal invokes the provision.

Now making it mandatory for all motor accident claims tribunals to download the First Information Reports and other documents from the CCTNS portal, the judge held that they should be numbered as claim petitions within 15 days and notices issued to victims, insurance companies and the transport corporations or private vehicle owners. The judge also said that every endeavour should be made to settle the compensation amount through pre-litigation proceedings after referring the issue to the Legal Services Authority. It was only if no settlement could be reached between the parties, they should be asked to undergo a full-fledged trial to determine the liability and the quantum of compensation, he added.

To assist the tribunal to undertake such an exercise, the judge asked the Director General of Police to ensure that FIRs were registered promptly in motor accident cases and uploaded along with documents on the CCTNS portal without any delay. Investigation should also be completed within 90 days in all accident cases.

The documents uploaded on the portal should have been verified with the insurance companies and other departments concerned and they must be authenticated with a watermark. Names, address, phone numbers, Aadhaar card numbers of the victims and their family members should also be uploaded on the portal and those details must be legible, he ordered.

The DGP was also directed to create a system for sending e-mail notifications to the jurisdictional tribunals immediately after the uploading of accident reports on the portal. An officer in the rank of Inspector General of Police must be deputed to supervise whether all police officials in the State were following the directions scrupulously and initiate action against erring officials.

Justice Subramaniam directed the DGP to impound vehicles that get involved in road accidents without having been insured. The Director of Medical and Rural Health Services was further ordered to maintain accident registers in all government hospitals across the State and upload those particulars on the government website within seven days of every accident.

The judge wanted the Transport Secretary, the DGP and the Director of Medical and Rural Health Services to report compliance of his orders by January 18, 2021.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 9:01:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-brings-about-shift-in-accident-compensation-claim-procedures/article32680739.ece

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