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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Mediation should be offered to settle road accident cases: SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday recommended measures, including mediation, to speed up settlement of motor accident claim cases so that victims can receive compensation without having to wait endlessly.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2019 00:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Tuesday recommended measures, including mediation, to speed up settlement of motor accident claim cases so that victims can receive compensation without having to wait endlessly.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday recommended measures, including mediation, to speed up settlement of motor accident claim cases so that victims can receive compensation without having to wait endlessly. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
         

The Supreme Court on Tuesday recommended measures, including mediation, to speed up settlement of motor accident claim cases so that victims can receive compensation without having to wait endlessly.

A bench led by justice AK Sikri also asked the government to consider amending the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA) and include the suggestions made by the court. The suggestions were made on propositions advanced by senior advocate Arun Mohan who argued a compensation case. The petitioner moved the top court after a Delhi high court order refused to grant him sufficient compensation for an accident he had suffered in 1988.

Asking the Centre to enact the Indian Mediation Act, the court said mediation must be offered as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in motor accident claims cases. “Mediation is here to stay. It is here to evolve. It is because of the advantages of mediation as a method here to find new grounds,” the court said, asking the Centre to examine the feasibility of setting up an authority under the MVA.

The court said there may be a possibility of reducing the number of road accidents, but occurrence cannot be totally eliminated. A large number of fatal accidents has given rise to a phenomenal quantum jump in claim cases, the court said, while underlining need to have mediation as an ADR in such matters.

Till the time an amendment is made by Parliament, the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) should take up the work as a project, the court said. The NALSA has been directed to prepare a report about the functioning of the motor accident mediation cell (MAMC). The exercise should be completed within two months, after which the project can be shared with all state legal services authorities, which will implement the same through their respective district legal services authorities.

The court also asked the government to look into the feasibility of framing necessary schemes for the availability of annuity certificates and set a six-month deadline for the government to take a decision. The court reiterated its directions of a 2017 judgement by which a Delhi high court verdict was made applicable to the entire country. This was done to speed up the disposal of motor accident cases within a period of 90 to 120 days from the date of the accident.

As per the directions, the police was asked to send a copy of the FIR to the court of metropolitan magistrate, motor accident claims tribunal (MACT) as well as the insurance company. On receiving the FIR copy, the company has to ascertain whether the claim is payable and respond within 30 days.

First Published: Mar 06, 2019 00:41 IST