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HC hints at relief to kin of Blueline victims

HC is levying Rs 1 lakh from owners of Blueline buses involved in fatal accidents and Rs 50,000 from those involved in grievous injuries, reports Harish V Nair.
By Harish V Nair | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 15, 2008 04:02 AM IST

The family of those killed or crippled by the notorious Blueline buses might finally begin to get compensation.

The Delhi High Court, which is at present levying Rs one lakh from owners of Blueline buses involved in fatal accidents and Rs 50,000 from those involved in grievous injuries, dropped enough hints on Thursday that it would start distributing the amount deposited in the court among the kin of those who died and to those who suffered serious injury.

“We are going to start releasing money to the victims. There is no point keeping it in the court,” a Bench of Justices Mukul Mudgal and Rewa Khetrapal remarked while hearing a petition for release of a bus involved in the death of a schoolgirl on the Modi flyover in October 2007.

The Bench imposed fines as an interim measure till amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act, hiking the fines.

A petition filed by kin of victims seeking compensation for all victims is already pending in the court. They moved the court after the government decided to compensate kin of eight victims of the accident at Badarpur on October 8, 2007.

Seeking a level compensatory format, the lawyer for Association of Victims of Bluelines Victims (AVBB) Jasbir Malik said, “When eight people died in one day, they get compensation. Are the hundreds who died on different days not worthy of compensation?”

‘Drivers don’t deserve bail’

The court has till now released around 30 buses involved in accidents after accepting fine. The Bluelines have already claimed eight lives this year. The toll last year was 120.

Expressing serious concern over continued killings by Blueline buses and the manner in which drivers manage to get bail thanks to a lenient law, Justice Mudgal said, “It is a pity. You kill a person and immediately get bail. We are bound by legislature otherwise there is no reason why these drivers should get bail. The offence of rash and negligent driving should be made non bailable.”

‘Let insurers pay’

Meanwhile the court issued notices to the government, insurance companies — national and Oriental Insurance— and a lawyer assisting the court, AJ Bhambani, on a petition filed by bus operators urging the court to recover fine from insurance companies. The petition will come up for hearing on March 6.

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