High Court : Acquittal of Driver Involved in Accident no Ground for Denial of Insurance Claim (Read Judgement)

The Punjab & Haryana HC has made it clear that acquittal of driver in criminal proceedings pertaining to accident of a vehicle & a complainant turning hostile in the case isn’t a ground for denial of insurance claim to the family of the person killed in that accident.

Justice Lisa Gill of the HC passed these orders while upholding the decision of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal(MACT), Chandigarh, directing the Oriental Insurance Company Limited (OICL) to pay Rs 77.77 lakh claim to the family members of an ex- serviceman who was serving as constable in Chandigarh police when he died after allegedly being hit by a bus.

The man, Jagtar Singh, 42, died on Dec 11, 2016 after he was hit by a bus while crossing a road in the city. It was alleged that the accident was caused by rash & negligent driving by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) bus driver.

On Dec 21, 2018, the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal(MACT) awarded Rs 77,77,322 to the deceased’s family. The amount was to be paid by Oriental Insurance Company Limited (OICL) which had insured the bus.

Aggrieved from these orders, the insurance company had approached the HC arguing that the vehicle in question has been falsely involved in this matter only to extract compensation. The firm added that the propounder of the First Information Report (FIR) Narinder Kumar has turned hostile during criminal proceedings & the driver of the bus had been acquitted in the said proceedings. The company said it wasn’t liable for compensation in this case as it wasn’t proved on record that the bus in question was involved in the accident.

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Hearing this, the HC found that the identity of the offending vehicle was duly established on record. The bus was found to have been taken in custody by the police from the spot of the accident & was released on superdari.

“The complainant may have turned hostile in the criminal proceedings but in the wake of the positive evidence on record in the present proceedings where the claimant has to prove his case on the touchstone of preponderance of probabilities & not beyond reasonable doubt, it cann’t be concluded that the offending bus wasn’t involved in the accident. Acquittal of the accused driver in the criminal proceedings by itself isn’t a ground to non-suit the claimants in the given factual matrix,” observed the HC while upholding the tribunal’s order.

15-yr-old crushed by truck; Parents get Rs 11L

15-yr-old crushed by truck; Parents get Rs 11L
15-yr-old crushed by truck; Parents get Rs 11L

Parents of a 15-year-old boy, who died after being run over by a rashly driven truck, have been awarded a compensation of over Rs 11 lakh by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) here.

The tribunal directed Shriram General Insurance Company Ltd, insurer of the offending truck, to pay Rs 11.07 lakh to the parents of the teenaged boy, who died in 2012.

MACT Presiding Officer Kiran Bansal held the driver guilty of rash and negligent driving while relying on the testimony of the boy’s father, who was an eyewitness to the accident, and also noted that the driver and owner of the offending truck did not step into the witness box to deny the allegations.

The tribunal also relied on documents on record, including the copy of FIR, victim’s post mortem report and mechanical inspection report of the truck.

While directing the insurance company to pay the amount to petitioners, the tribunal also entitled the firm to recover the same from the driver and owner of the truck as they were plying it without a valid permit.

According to the petition, on March 1, 2012, the victim was going to a market near Ghaziabad when a speeding truck ran over him.

The boy, a Delhi resident, was taken to GTB Hospital where he was declared as brought dead.

An FIR was registered against the driver under sections 279 (rash driving) and 304A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC.

The driver and owner of the truck had denied the charges through a written statement, but failed to appear in person, the tribunal noted.

The insurance company had also filed written statement and admitted the valid policy of the truck but alleged that the truck owner did not have a permit to ply the vehicle.

( Source – PTI )

Minor gets Rs 7.71L for losing eye in accident

A child, who lost one of his eyes at the age of two in a road mishap involving a rashly-driven car, has been awarded a compensation of around Rs eight lakh by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) here.

The tribunal directed the IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Company Ltd, with which the offending Honda City car was insured, to pay Rs 7,71,931 to Uttam Nagar resident Piyush Jain, who had filed the petition through his father.

“Police after probe in the matter has filed charge sheet against respondent no.1 (car driver) under the provisions of the IPC which is also prima facie suggestive of negligence of the driver in driving the offending vehicle in a rash and negligent manner,” MACT Presiding Officer Arun Bhardwaj said.

Due to the accident, the child had suffered grievous injuries in his left eye which had to be removed after surgery and he has been provided an artificial eye which has to be changed after a period of time for the minor’s growth.

His father, Ajay Jain told the tribunal that the accident took place in October 2010 when he along with his brother and the child were going on their scooter. He said he was pillion rider and was carrying the child in his lap on the vehicle.

When they reached Rama Property in Uttam Nagar, the offending car driven by its owner Deepak Gupta came in a rash manner and hit them from behind due to which they fell down and received injuries, he said.

They were taken to hospital where the minor’s eye was operated while the other two injured were given treatment.

“Child at the tender age of two years had to suffer the tragedy of loosing his left eye in a motor vehicle accident,” it said, noting there was no vision in the boy’s left eye.

“Though visual disability assessed by the medical board is 30 per cent but in the considered opinion of this tribunal, the disability shall be considered as 50 per cent inasmuch as not only the child will not be eligible for jobs in Armed forces and para military services, etc. Where total fitness is required, he will suffer prejudice even in obtaining jobs in private sector as well,” the presiding officer said.



Metro accident victim moves court, seeks Rs.50 lakh relief

Twentytwo-year-old Mehjabi who lost her legs in a freak accident at a Metro station in March moved the Delhi High Court Thursday seeking a compensation of Rs.50 lakh from Delhi Metro and a government job.

In her petition, she demanded that the safety standards at Metro stations be improved.

Hearing the petition, Justice S. Muralidhar asked the Delhi Metro to file its reply by Jan 12, 2011.

Through her petition, she asked the court to pass directions to the Delhi Metro to provide a 24-hour ambulance service at busy stations and at all stations during the rush hour. She also demanded a government job.

‘Security personnel should be deployed at all stations to manage the surging crowds. The customer service staff and other personnel should be trained to deal with situations of emergency – a common feature of major metro stations across the globe,’ she said in her petition.

The Delhi Metro must install emergency help buttons which can be activated to report disturbances and to summon help during an emergency, said the petition.

She also said that the Delhi Metro must appoint a 24×7 doctor at the busiest metro stations to assist the needy in times of emergency.

‘The Metro must be directed to install passenger alarms at eye-level in carriages near the double doors and talk back facilities built into these alarms so that passengers can explain to trained staff the problem faced. Also adequate number of CCTV cameras must be installed,’ the petition said.

The petition said that the Delhi Metro must start a safety course for its employees so that that they are equipped with the necessary skills to deal with an accident.

‘Emergency stop plungers should be installed which can be used to stop an approaching train from entering the station. If the train is already at the platform, it will be prevented from moving off,’ said the petition.

In her petition, she alleged that the Metro employees who rescued her were not trained to handle a case of emergency.

‘The Metro employees who went to check on the petitioner (after she came under a train) were neither trained in the administration of first aid nor did they offer medication to stop bleeding,’ it said.

The 22-year-old was doing her journalism course in her hometown Dehradun, and was close to landing a job with a news agency when the incident occurred.

She received artificial limbs free of cost in May from an NGO.

Equal monetary relief for accident victims, rules court

The Delhi High Court Friday set aside the order of the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal granting excessive monetary relief to a foreign woman, ruling the victim’s social status or colour of skin is immaterial while deciding the compensation for injury in a road accident.

‘The court cannot award small amounts on account of pain and sufferings to the poor persons and hefty amounts for pain and sufferings for same injury to rich persons. The value of each human life in the eyes of law has to be the same and the monetary value of the pain and suffering also to be same,’ Justice S.N. Dhingra observed.

The tribunal had awarded a compensation of more than Rs.50 lakh to a German woman who lost her arm in an accident, out of which Rs.2 lakh was given for pain and sufferings undergone by her. The high court found that the amount was excessive as in many other similar cases, much less amount was given as compensation.

‘If the courts award more compensation to foreigners because of the colour of skin or because of their being rich and award less compensation to Indians because they are poor, that amounts to travesty of justice,’ Dhingra said.

‘The tribunal seems to have been guided more by the fact that the claimant in this case was a foreign national and was having status different from that of an Indian citizen,’ he said.