BEST JUDICIARY NOTES ON MOTOR VEHICLE ACT 1998
WHAT IS MOTOR ACCIDENT CLAIM? EXPLANATION OF MOTOR VEHICLE, 1988 EXPLAINED?
Motor Vehicle Act 1988 provides for motor accident claims for victims and legal heirs. Motor accident claims are covered by sections 140, 142, 142, 133, 163, 163A and 163B. These provisions are sometimes amended to address the changing society. The 1994 amendment is crucial to support victims’ claims.
LIABILITY TO PAY COMPENSATION UNDER MOTOR VEHICLE ACT
Section 140 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 allows liability to pay compensation in certain circumstances based on the principle that there is no fault.
SECTION 140 OF MVA - IN CERTAIN CASES, LIABILITY TO PAY COMPENSATION BASED ON NO-FAULT
- In the event of death or permanent disability resulting from an accident that involves a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles, the vehicle’s owner or the owners of the vehicles jointly and severally shall be liable for any compensation.
- Sub-section (1) shall provide for a fixed amount of compensation regarding the death of any individual. Compensation under that subsection shall also be available in respect of permanent disablement of any person shall be a fixed five thousand rupees.
- The claimant for compensation under subsection (1) shall not be required or permitted to plead or establish that the death or permanent disablement or the loss of a vehicle/vehicles concerned was caused by any wrongful act, neglect, default or negligence of the owner of the vehicle/vehicles or any other person.
- Sub-section (1) claims for compensation shall not be dismissed for the wrongful act, neglect, or default of the person whose death or permanent disability the claim is made. Neither shall the amount of compensation that can be recovered in respect thereof be reduced because of the percentage of such person responsible for such death/permanent disablement.
- Sub-section (2) does not apply to death or bodily injury. The owner of the vehicle may be liable for compensatory relief. The amount of compensation payable under this or section 163A
The Motor Vehicles Act 1988, Section 140 is intended to immediately assist the injured, their heirs or legal representatives. The claim under section 140 is normally made at the threshold of the proceeding. If the tribunal issues an interim award, the tribunal may adjust the amount to pay the claimants. However, this does not mean that a claim under Section 140 cannot be made at the start of proceedings due to ignorance or that no order to pay the compensation under Section 140 was given due to the tribunal.
The door would remain closed forever. This view would be against the law and contrary to public policy. (Eshwaruppu v. CS. Gurushanthapp AIR 2010 SC 2997) Section 141 of Motor Vehicles Act 1988 provides another right to claim compensation for permanent disability or death.
SECTION 141 OF MOTOR VEHICLE ACT - OTHER RIGHTS TO COMPENSATION FOR PERMANENT DISABILITY OR DEATH
- Any person may claim compensation under section 140 for death or permanent disability. This right is in addition to any other rights, including the right under section 163A (such other Droit hereafter referred to as “the right on the principle or fault”) to seek compensation under this act or any other law at the time.
- Any claim for compensation under Section 140 for the death or permanent disability of any person shall not be denied. Compensation under section 140 for such death or disablement shall also be granted in pursuance of any right under the principle of negligence.
- Notwithstanding subsection (1) regarding the death or permanent disability of any person, the person liable under section 140 is also liable for compensation in accordance with the right on principle. The person so responsible shall pay the first-mentioned compensation.
- If the amount of first-mentioned compensatory is less than that of second-mentioned, he will be liable to pay (in addition to the first-mentioned compensation) as much of second-mentioned compensatory equal to the excess of first-mentioned.
- If the first-mentioned amount is less than or equal to the second-mentioned amount, he will not be liable for the second-mentioned amount. Permanent Disablement-Section 142 deals with the provision of permanent disability. This section deals with a permanent disability. In cases of permanent disability, the amount of accident compensation is directly related to the extent of physical impairment. The extent of loss of earning ability depends on the extent of physical impairment. Mogul Nasir v. Oriental Insurance Company Ltd., AIR 2009 (Supplement) 1619
If the victim has sustained any injuries or damages as a result of the accident (section 140(1)), it shall be considered an accident of the type described in section 140(1).
- Permanent privation of sight or hearing in either eye or any member or joint
- Or destruction or permanent impairment of the power of any member or joint;
- Permanent disfiguration of the face or head.
SPECIAL PROVISION FOR COMPENSATION IN THE CASE OF A HIT AND RUN MOTOR-ACCIDENT – BEST LAW STUDY NOTES
SECTION 161 OF MOTOR VEHICLE ACT OUTLINES SPECIAL PROVISIONS REGARDING COMPENSATION FOR HIT-AND-RUN MOTOR ACCIDENTS
- For the purposes of:
- "Grievous hurt" shall have the same meaning as in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (45 of 1860);
- "Hit and run motor accident" means an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle or motor vehicles the identity whereof cannot be ascertained in spite of reasonable efforts for the purpose; of this section 162 and section 163
- “Scheme” means the scheme that was framed under section 163
- Notwithstanding anything in the General Insurance Business, Nationalisation Act, 1972 (57 of 72) or any other law or instrument having force, the General Insurance Corporation of India, formed under section 9, and the Indian insurance companies that are currently carrying out general insurance business in India, shall pay, in accordance to the provisions of this act, and the scheme, compensation for death or grievous bodily harm resulting from hit-and-run motor vehicle accidents
- Compensation shall be paid subject to the provisions in this act and the scheme
- In respect of the death of anyone who is involved in a hit-and-run motor accident, a fixed amount of twenty-five thousand rupees
- In respect of grievous injury to any person caused by a hit-and-run motor accident, a fixed sum of twelve thousand rupees and five hundred rupees. (4) This section’s sub-section (1) shall apply to the purposes of making compensation claims.
A claim under section 161 of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1998 must show that the identity of the vehicles can’t be determined despite reasonable efforts. It is possible that the case of a “hit-and-run motor accident” will not be resolved if the vehicle’s identity can be established. (Theethi v. Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Palakkad, AIR 1996 Ker 237)
SECTION 162 OF MOTOR VEHICLE ACT - REFUND IN SOME CASES OF COMPENSATION UNDER SECTION 161
- Compensation for the death or grievous injury to any person under section 1601 is subject to the following conditions: If any compensation (hereafter referred to in this sub-section as the other compensate) or another amount in place of or as a satisfaction of a compensation claim is awarded or paid concerning such death or grievous harm under any other provision of law, or otherwise so much as the amount aforesaid, the insurer shall be refunded.
- Before awarding compensation for an accident involving death or bodily injuries to anyone arising out the use of motor vehicles or motor vehicles under this Act (other section 161) or another law, the Tribunal or Court awarding such compensation shall verify whether compensation has been paid under section 161 about such death or injury or if an application is being made under that section. Such Tribunal, Court, or other authority shall
- If compensation has been paid under section 161, direct that the person liable pay the amount of the compensation is awarded to the insurer.
- If a claim for compensation is pending under section 161, forward details of the amount to the insurer.
EXPLANATION OF SECTION 161 MVA – BEST JUDICIARY NOTES IN INDIA
A claim for compensation under section 161 is deemed pending for this subsection.
- If such an application has been refused, up to the date of rejection.
- In any other case, until the date of payment for compensation under the application
SECTION 163 OF MVA - SCHEME TO PAY COMPENSATION FOR HIT-AND-RUN MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
- The Central Government can create a scheme describing how General Insurance Corporation will administer the scheme by notification in Official Gazette. It may also specify the form, time and manner in which compensation applications can be made, the officers and authorities to whom they may be made, and the process that such officers or authorities must follow to consider and pass orders on such claims.
- A scheme created under subsection (1) could provide that:
- A contravention of any provision shall result in imprisonment for a specified term but not exceeding three months or a fine that may reach such an amount but not exceeding five hundred rupees, or both.
- Any powers, functions or duties conferred on an officer or authority under such scheme. With the approval of the Central Government in writing, such officer or authority may delegate power to another officer or authority.
- Any provision of such scheme can have retrospective effect starting at the date of establishment under the Motor Vehicles Act (1939/4 of 1939), as it was immediately before this act. However, such retrospective effect will not be given to adversely affect any individual governed by such provisions.
SECTION 163 – A MOTOR VEHICLE ACT, 1988 - SPECIAL PROVISIONS AS TO PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION ON STRUCTURED FORMULA BASIS
- The motor vehicle owner or the authorised insurance shall pay for death or permanent disability resulting from the use of the vehicle. Compensation, as specified in the Second Schedule to the legal heirs and the victim, depending on the case.
- Explanation – “Permanent disability” shall be understood and applied in this subsection as it is defined in the Workmen’s Compensation Act (1923, 8 of 1923).
- The claimant for compensation under subsection (1) shall not be required to plead or prove that the death or permanent disability in which the claim was made is due to the wrongful act, neglect or default of either the owner or other person.
- The Central Government can amend the Second Schedule from time to time, taking into account the cost of living, by notifying the Official Gazette.
A sum of Rs. In the Accident Claims Tribunal claim petition under section 166 Motor Vehicles Act 1988, a compensation amount of Rs. 3,00,000. After reviewing the evidence, the tribunal ruled that permanent disability would be determined at 10%. The tribunal awarded Rs. 40,000 compensations on this ground. The amount of total compensation awarded was Rs. 72,785, viz., Rs. 18,000-towards sufferings and pain, Rs. 12,640 was paid towards diet and attendant costs, while 323 were paid toward medical expenses. The High Court, without assigning any reason, increased the amount of compensation to Rs. 1,12,000 (Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Kodaly. AIR 2001 SC1832).
SECTION 165 REFERS TO THE CLAIMS TRIBUNAL
SECTION 165 - CLAIMS TRIBUNALS
- A State Government can create one or more Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals (hereafter referred to as Claims Tribunal). For such areas as may be specified by the notification to adjudicate on claims for compensation for accidents involving death or bodily injury to persons arising from the use of motor cars or damage to property of a third person so arising or both. Explanation.
- The Claims Tribunal shall have such several members that the State Government considers appropriate. If it has more than one member, the Chairman shall be chosen.
- No person can be appointed to a Claims Tribunal member unless he has been certified by the State Government.
- Is, or was, a Judge at a High Court.
- Is, or was, a District Judge.
- As a High-Court Judge or District Judge.
- If two or more Claims Tribunals exist for any given area, the State Government may appoint a general or specific order that regulates the distribution of business between them. All claims arising from the use of motor vehicles are subject to the jurisdiction of the Claims Tribunal, established under section 165 and section 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. This power is not limited to deciding claims between the claimant, insured, insurer and driver. The tribunal can resolve disputes between the insured and insurer during the adjudication of a compensation claim. The award is executable and enforceable in the same way as section 174 of the act to enforce and execute the award in favour of the claimant. (National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Swaran Singh. AIR 2004 SC 1531).
APPLICATION FOR COMPENSATION - SECTION 166 OF THE ACT
SECTION 166 OF MOTOR VEHICLE ACT - APPLY FOR COMPENSATION
- A request for the nature described in subsection (1) of section 160 may be made
- By the injured party;
- By the property owner;
- Where death is due to an accident, all or any of their legal representatives; or
- By any agent duly authorised by the person hurt or all or any deceased legal representatives, as applicable: The application shall be made for or on behalf of all legal representatives of deceased. Any legal representatives not joining the application shall be considered respondents.
- Any claim under subsection (1) must be made at the claimant’s option to either the Claims Tribunal with jurisdiction over the accident area or the Claims Tribunal within local limits of whose authority the claimant resides, carries on business, or the defendant resides. It shall be in such form as and include such details as may be prescribed.
Except where a claim under section 140 is not made in such an application, the Claims Tribunal shall treat the application with a separate statement immediately before signing. (4) Any accident report sent to the Claims Tribunal under section (6) shall be treated by it.
AS AN APPLICATION FOR COMPENSATION UNDER THE ACT – SECTION 158
The claimant doesn't need to plead evidence in a petition for compensation. The claimant can simply tell the respondents that the victim was killed because of their actions. When the accident was caused by rashness is the basis of a claim for compensation, the non-disclosure of the accident’s manner does not render the petition incomplete. It also does not lead to the conclusion that there was no cause of action. (State of Uttar Pradesh Roadways Transport Corporation v. Shanti Devi, AIR 1997 Del 342).
WHAT IS SECTION 167 OF MOTOR VEHICLE ACT? – IT DEALS WITH OPINIONS REGARDING COMPENSATION CLAIMS IN SPECIFIC CASES
SECTION 167 - OPTION REGARDING CLAIMS FOR COMPENSATION IN CERTAIN CASES
Notwithstanding anything contained in the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 (8 of 1923) where the death of, or bodily injury to, any person gives rise to a claim for compensation under this act and also under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923, the person entitled to compensation may without prejudice to the provisions of Chapter X claim such compensation under either of those Acts but not under both.
Motor Vehicles Act 1988, which provides mandatory insurance for matters under section 147, allows an insurer to be awarded. A section 149(2)-compliant insurer would normally have a limited defence as permitted by the act. An insurer would have unlimited defence in a Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 proceeding. The employer would have all of the defences available. (Gottumukkala Appala Narasimha Raju v. National Insurance Company Ltd. AIR 2007 SC 2907).
AWARD OF CLAIMS, TRIBUNAL
SECTION 168 - REFERS TO THE AWARD OF CLAIMS TRIBUNAL
- Except that a claim under section 140 for compensation for any person's death or permanent disability is made, any claim or other claim for compensation for such death or permanent handicapped shall be dealt with by the provisions of Chapter.
- The Claims Tribunal shall make arrangements to send copies of the award to all parties promptly and in any event within fifteen days of the award date.
- A person is required to deposit any amount under this section within 30 days after the announcement of the award by the Claims Tribunal. In the case of motor vehicle accidents, the claimant's child suffered 10% disability and lost future earnings. (Priya Vasant Kalgutkar v. Murad Sheikh, 2001 SC 40)
It was ruled that it could not be decided on any law principle. Section 169 deals with the power and procedure of the Claims Tribunal.
WHAT IS SECTION 169 OF MVA, 1988 - CLAIMS TRIBUNALS: PROCEDURE AND POWERS
- The Claims Tribunal can, subject to any rules made in this regard, conduct any inquiry under section 168.
- The Claims Tribunal shall have all powers of a Civil Court to take evidence under oath, enforce the attendance of witnesses, and force the discovery and production of material objects and documents.
- The Claims Tribunal can, subject to any rules made in this regard, select one or more persons with special knowledge to assist in the holding of an inquiry. Tribunal cannot resolve issues in claim petitions individually. The Insurance Company contested the claim raised in an application because the owner was not covered under the policy. Only the tribunal can decide whether the application is maintainable. (Bimlesh v. New India Assurance Company Ltd. AIR 2010 SC 2591). Award of interest when a claim is allowed.
SECTION 171 DEALS WITH THE AWARD OF INTEREST WHEN A CLAIM IS ALLOWED – BEST MOTOR VEHICLE ACT STUDY NOTES
SECTION 171 – AWARD OF INTEREST WHERE CLAIM IS ALLOWED
The rate of interest for accident compensation is dependent on the current bank rate. In such a case, the award was made in 2005. Accordingly, the prevailing interest rate at the bank was 7.5%. The claimants were entitled to interest @ 7.5% per annum. (Dharampal v. Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation, AIR 2008 SC 2312),
SECTION 172 OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE ACT DEALS WITH COMPENSATORY COSTS IN CERTAIN CASES
Section 172 In certain cases, award of compensatory expenses:
- Any Claims Tribunal that decides on any claim under this act may, in any case, finds it acceptable for reasons to be recorded in writing by it.
- The insurance policy is null if it was obtained through false representation in any material particular.
- Any party or insurer has made a false or vexatious defence or claim.
- This tribunal can order the payment by the party guilty of misrepresentation, or by whom such claim/defence has been made, of special costs as compensation to the insurance or to the party against which such claim/defence has been made.
- No Claims Tribunal will pass any order for a special cost under sub-section (1) for amounts exceeding one thousand rupees
- A person or an insurer against whom an order has been issued under this section is not exempted for any criminal liability about such misrepresentation or claim or defence as is referred to in sub-section (1)
- In any subsequent lawsuit for damages or compensation for misrepresentation or claim, any amount awarded under this section shall be considered.
SECTION 173 – APPEALS IN MOTOR ACCIDENT CLAIM TRIBUNAL
- A person who is aggrieved in a Claims Tribunal award may appeal it to the High Court within ninety days. Provided, however, that the High Court will not entertain any appeal from any person required to pay any amount under such award unless he has deposited with the High Court twenty-five thousand rupees (or fifty per cent). The amount so awarded or less in the manner directed the High Court. However, the High Court may accept the appeal after ninety days.
- A Claims Tribunal award shall not be appealed against if the amount at issue in the appeal exceeds ten thousand rupees. It is important to remember that the insurance company has no contractual relationship with the third party. Sections 149 and 147 of the act create the liabilities and obligations that apply to third parties. Section 149 is a benefit to the third party. However, this benefit is not available to the owner or operator of the vehicle in question. Third-party must be treated differently from the logic of a fake licence. (National Insurance Company Ltd. against Laxmi N. Dhutt, AC 2007 SCW 227).
The Accident Claims Tribunal, a court that is subordinate to the High Court, is an instance. High Court can hear an appeal against the tribunal. While exercising its appellate powers, the High Court would adhere to CPC and similar provisions. CPC section 21(1). The appellate court must ask the correct questions, namely whether the appellant could prove it suffered any prejudice. The High Court should have rejected the appeal if it had not suffered prejudice or any other failure of justice. It is also true that a decision made without jurisdiction would be coram nu Juris. An objection regarding jurisdiction can be made at any time. However, it is important to distinguish between jurisdictions concerning the subject matter of the suit and those of territorial or pecuniary. (Mantoo Sarkar v. Oriental Insurance Company, AIR 2009 SC 1022)