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Third-party insurance for cars a must from September 1, says Supreme Court

The order is expected to help road accident victims recover compensation from insurance firms, without going after the owner of the offending vehicle.

india Updated: Jul 20, 2018 23:51 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Insurance,Thir-party insurance,Car insurance
The bench also directed Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority to approve the insurance product as soon as it receives it from the General Insurance Council. (Reuters file phot)

Third-party insurance for three years will become mandatory for cars being sold from September 1, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday. A bench of justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta also made it compulsory for two-wheeler owners to take third-party insurance for five years.

The order is expected to help road accident victims recover compensation from insurance firms, without going after the owner of the offending vehicle.

The bench also directed Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority to approve the insurance product as soon as it receives it from the General Insurance Council. The directive came after a court-appointed panel on road safety, headed by former SC judge justice KS Radhakrishnan, suggested having a long-term third party insurance.

The GIC sought eight months to prepare a policy but the court declined, noting that the “issue raised by the panel was of utmost concern”. It ordered insurance firms to compulsorily offer third-party insurance as a standalone product and not jointly provide it under a comprehensive policy.

The bench is hearing a PIL related to road safety and had appointed Justice Radhakrishnan committee to look into measures to prevent road accidents and improve accountability.

As per the panel report “longer term third-party insurance cover at the time of purchase would ensure that the road accident victims do not suffer due to the fault of the owner in not renewing his or her policy every year.”

Advocate Gaurav Agarwal, who is assisting the court in the matter, said the panel forwarded the suggestion after it was found that out of 18 crore vehicles registered in the country, 12 crore are uninsured. This also includes heavy traffic vehicle. “50% of the uninsured vehicles are two-wheelers and statistics also reflect that maximum number of accidents are caused by these.”

In a related order, the bench also asked the road safety panel to submit a report on how to give compensation to people who are killed in accidents caused due to potholes on roads. “This is frightening and a very serious issue. People who have lost their lives as a result of accidents caused due to potholes should be entitled to compensation. After all it happens due to the negligence of civic authorities,” Justice Lokur said.

First Published: Jul 20, 2018 23:21 IST