SUPREME COURT ISSUES IMPORTANT DIRECTIONS REGARDING ROAD VICTIMS

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Taking serious note of loopholes in the mechanism of payment of compensation to the victims of road accidents, the Supreme Court has issued directions to ensure prompt and adequate disbursement of compensation.

Taking note of the plight of the victims of road accidents such as hit and run cases, the Supreme Court has directed the Director General of police of all the states and union territories to issue directions to all SHO to provide within 30 days the copies of FIR and the details of the victim like name, age and monthly income to the concerned accident tribunal within 30 days of the accident.

This direction must be complied with latest by April 30.

A bench comprising Mr Justice R V Raveendran, Mr Justice Mukundakam Sharma and Mr Justice K S Radhakrishnan also directed that the details of medical report such as injury, post-mortem report be made available to the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal (MACT) latest by August 2010. The entire record should be sent to the concerned insurance company for processing and this direction should be complied with by all the states and the Union government latest by the end of this year.

Suggestions made by the apex court include levy of road safety tax on all the vehicles sold and imposition of cess/surcharge on petrol and diesel to collect funds for payment of compensation to the victims of such accidents. Third party insurance premium which will cover all gratuitous passengers travelling in goods vehicles and private vehicles should be collected by central insurance agencies.

The court has also suggested immediate payment of compensation to the accident victims including hit and run cases.

The apex court has also suggested that safe cess amount and third party insurance premium amount collected by the government should be utilised for such payments. The amount of compensation in hit and run cases should be increased as these accidents constitute 20 percent of the total mishap in the country.

Justice Raveendran, writing the 25 page judgement for the bench, also suggested that owner of the vehicle involved in the accident should be directed to deposit an adequate amount as pre-condition for release of the vehicle.

The apex court has suggested to the government to make suitable amendments to the II-schedule of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988 and also to section 158 (6) of the Act at the earliest. The court also took note of the fact that road accidents in India were highest in the world and the delay in paying compensation the longest.

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