One Indian was killed almost every five minutes in a road accident in 2008, and their family members do not know whether and by when would they get compensation for the innocent lives lost.
The government finally wants this to change. It is considering a proposal to set-up special courts for quick disposal of road accident insurance claims.
In response to a letter by Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath, seeking setting-up of 600 “district-level empowered courts” for disposal of such cases within six weeks, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily has welcomed the idea, terming it “laudable.”
Nath, in a two-page letter to Moily on May 7, said there was an urgent need to establish empowered courts to settle the accident insurance claims on a fast-track basis.
“The proposed empowered courts could settle accident insurance claims within 30 to 45 days to lessen the despair of families and the social trauma involved,” Nath wrote.
He cited the shortage of judges and limited court time as the main reasons for slow disposal of such cases. “Services of retired judges could be utilised in running these courts,” Nath said.
In 2008, one lakh people were killed in the 4.8 lakh road accidents in the country, which came down to one accident every minute and a death every four-and-a-half minutes, Nath noted.
The World Health Organisation, in its Global Status Report on road safety released in August last year, had stated that more people are killed in road accidents in India than anywhere in the world.
In his reply on May 12, Moily said: “Your suggestion is laudable and we will see how to take it forward and work out the feasibility of setting-up special courts.”
According to the existing law, any person killed or injured in a road accident is entitled for compensation, commonly known as third party insurance under the Motor Vehicles Act.