The Delhi High Court, which has initiated steps to evolve a scheme for paying compensation to accident victims on Tuesday sought to know whether the crores of rupees received as fine from traffic rule violators can be disbursed as “solatium”.
Significantly, the court, which initially planned to compensate only victims of Blueline bus accidents, has brought under its purview those injured or killed by other vehicles like trucks and DTC buses too.
“Accidents are a serious problem in this city. There is a huge amount collected from challans. The police in Delhi work under the central government. Is there any way we can disburse this amount as compensation to victims”, a Bench of Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar asked Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra representing the centre.
Justice Shah also asked lawyer Mukta Gupta, who appeared for the Delhi Government whether it could set up a separate fund for paying compensation to accident victims if the challan amounts are meant for the central treasury. She said the fine amount collected annually ranges between Rs 70 and 80 crores.
“But suppose the amount is received by the Delhi Government why don’t you make an amendment to allow excess amount to be paid to accident victims”, the Bench said. The Centre and the State Government has been asked to take instructions by September 20.
Justice Shah made it clear that “the disbursed amount can always be replenished”.
“As and when compensation is announced to a victim by the court, the deducted amount must go back to the fund. The arrangement should be like that”.
Since November last year the High Court has been as charging Rs one lakh from owners of buses involved in fatal accidents and Rs 50,000 from those which caused grievous injuries for the release of the vehicle as a “deterrent”.
The total amount collected so far is Rs 80 lakh. It is this amount, lying in various magistrate courts where the owners apply for the release of the buses and is still being deposited, that the High Court initially planned to disburse as “interim” relief.