The Supreme Court on Monday mooted the option of creating a central fund that will compensate families of those who die in hit-and-run accidents where neither the driver nor the vehicle is traceable.
A bench headed by Justice MB Lokur asked the Centre to look into the possibility of setting up a board and evolve a mechanism to disburse the funds.
The direction came after the court was informed that there was a death taking place every three minutes due to road accidents.
Figures placed before the court also revealed that families of 50 per cent of the road accident victims in 2015-16 did not claim any insurance money because they were not aware that they were entitled to compensation including no-fault liability.
Around 1.5 lakh accident deaths were reported last year.
Insurance companies collected over Rs 21,000 crore as premium, but disbursed Rs 11,630 crore as claims, including to the injured.
“This is an extremely unfortunate situation,” the bench remarked after government counsel, senior advocate Ajit Sinha read out the details of Centre’s affidavit.
“We must have a mechanism under which the legal heirs get compensated immediately. They (victims’ families) should know the source from where they can get the money,” the court observed.
Though the new law meant to regulate motor vehicles prescribes for the fund, the top court said it was still a bill.
“We cannot comment on whether the Parliament should take it up or not. It has its own priorities. But, we want to have this system in place so that the poor do not suffer. The bill will take a long time to become a law,” the bench said, fixing December 2 to take up the matter again.
It said either the insurance companies must deposit the surplus money, left with them after the disbursal, in the fund or some extra amount should be charged from vehicle owners for the dedicated corpus.