In Delhi, an accident victim has to wait for an average 6-7 years after filing a compensation claim thanks to the cumbersome and long-pending legal procedure.
No wonder nearly 14,000 such cases are pending at 13 accident claims tribunals across the Capital. But not any more.
Delhi High Court on Thursday issued directions to Delhi Police and insurance companies for speedy disposal of compensation claims
A probe by the court revealed that the delay set in right at the inception stage as Delhi Police were not doing their job.
For the last 15 years, station house officers of most police stations have not been following a rule, 158(6) of the Motor Vehicles Act, that made it mandatory for them to send the accident information report to tribunals within 30 days of recording first information reports (FIRs). As a result courts had to wait for the aggrieved to file pleas to get the details.
Justice J.R. Midha directed the police to compile and send all pending accident reports since 1994 to claims tribunals across Delhi immediately.
Delhi Police counsel Meera Bhatia has been asked to ensure early service of summons to drivers, owners of vehicles and eyewitness in pending cases.
“Recent surveys show accident rate in India is the highest in the world with more than a lakh deaths reported every year. Another study says India will have about 5,46,000 road accident cases annually by 2020,” Justice Midha said.
“Road users have a fundamental right to safety. Steps need to taken to curb accidents. At the same time we need to do everything to ensure an expeditious settlement of compensation claims”, the court said.
The court has directed insurance companies to use the recently launched Delhi Police website where all accident reports are being uploaded and appoint investigators in each case.