States Directed To Form Units In Police Stations For Motor Accident Claims

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The Supreme Court has directed the states to constitute a special unit in police stations within three months to investigate and facilitate motor accident claim cases.

Issuing a slew of directions, the top court said on receiving intimation about a road accident by a motor vehicle at a public place, the SHO concerned shall take steps as per Section 159 of the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act under which an Accident Information Report is to be filed to the Claims Tribunal within three months by the police.

“In our view, the head of the Home Department of the State and the Director General of Police in all States/Union Territories shall ensure the compliance of the Rules by constituting a special unit in the police stations or at least at town level to investigate and facilitate the motor accident claim cases. The said action must be ensured within a period of three months,” a bench of Justices S A Nazeer and J K Maheshwari said.

The top court said after registering the FIR, the Investigating Officer (IO) shall act as specified in the Motor Vehicles Amendment Rules, 2022, and submit the First Accident Report within 48 hours to the Claims Tribunal.

“The registering officer is duty bound to verify the registration of the vehicle, driving licence, the fitness of vehicle, permits, and other ancillary issues and submit the report in coordination to the police officer before the Claims Tribunal.

“The flow chart and all other documents, as specified in the rules, shall either be in the vernacular language or in the English language, as the case may be, and shall be supplied as per Rules,” the bench said in a recent order.

Observing that the role of the IO is very important, it said the officer shall inform the victim or the legal representative, driver, owner, insurance companies, and other stakeholders with respect to the action taken while following the Motor Vehicles Amendment Rules.

“In case the claimant or legal representative of the victim has filed a separate claim petition in the territorial jurisdiction of different High Courts, the first claim petition filed by the claimant/legal representative(s) shall be maintained and the subsequent claim petition shall stand transferred to the Claims Tribunal where the first claim petition was filed and (is) pending.

“It is made clear here that the claimant are not required to apply before this Court seeking transfer of other claim petition though filed in the territorial jurisdiction of different High Courts,” the bench said.

The Supreme Court also directed the state authorities to take appropriate steps to develop a joint web portal/platform to coordinate with and facilitate the stakeholders for carrying out the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Amendment Act and the Rules in coordination with any technical agency and be notified to the public. The top court’s order came on a plea challenging an order passed by the Allahabad High Court which dismissed the appeal filed against the award passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT).

The MACT had allowed the claim petition and awarded a compensation of ₹ 31,90,000 in favour of legal representatives of a 24-year-old man who died in a road accident. The victim’s car was hit by a bus on the bypass road near Sanhwali village in Uttar Pradesh when he was returning home from the factory. The victim sustained severe injuries and died on the way to the hospital.

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