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Ensure compensation in road accident cases reaches genuine claimant: SC


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Supreme Court Wednesday said the Centre should formulate a scheme to ensure that compensation in hit and run cases reaches genuine claimants of the victims.
The top court considered a report of a court-appointed committee on road safety, headed by former apex court judge Justice K S Radhakrishnan, which has recommended that a compensation of minimum Rs 2 lakh be given to the next of kin of a person who dies in a hit and run accident.
The committee has also recommended that Rs 50,000 be paid to a person who is grievously injured in such accidents.
A bench of Justices S A Bobde, Deepak Gupta and Vineet Saran asked the Centre to frame a policy to ensure that the minimum compensation fixed reaches to the genuine claimants.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for Centre, said that a bill in this regard is pending in the Rajya Sabha.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was passed by the Lok Sabha in April 2017 and it was thereafter sent to the select committee of the Rajya Sabha, which had presented its report on December 22, 2017.
Advocate Gaurav Agarwal, who is appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter, said that the amendment bill is scheduled to lapse as it was not passed by the Rajya Sabha.
Anand said the bill will not lapse as of now as the current Lok Sabha is not dissolved.
The bench said the government should ensure that the compensation reaches genuine claimants after proper verification of identity of the person.
The apex court, which was hearing a matter concerning the issues of road safety in India, was earlier told that amount of compensation to victim of hit-and-run accident was "abysmal".
On July 12 last year, the apex court had said that compensation amount of Rs 25,000 which is paid to a victim of hit-and-run accident in case of death is "low" and a bill that proposes to raise this to Rs 2 lakh is "pending" before Parliament.
Agarwal had told the court that several states have complied with the directions of the apex court given in the matter earlier while some states were at the stage of complying with them.
He had said that a court-appointed committee on road safety has collected data from the states in this regard and the next challenge was about utilisation of funds which should strictly be for the purpose of road safety.
On the issue of compensation to victims of hit-and-run accidents, the amicus had said that insurance companies were on board and they were willing to pay Rs 2 lakh to them.
The amicus had pointed that out of around 1.60 lakh deaths reported in road accidents in India in 2016, around 20,000 people had died in hit-and-run accidents.
The amicus had also suggested that at the time of sell of two or four wheelers, the third party insurance should be for a period of three years instead of one year and this would ensure that large number of vehicles plying on the roads would be insured.
The top court had earlier said that scientific systems should be adopted for insurance of vehicles in the country and strict measures should be there for people who drive in an inebriated state.
It had in 2017 issued a slew of directions on road safety and asked all states and union territories (UTs) to set up a trauma centre in each district of India and make safety norms part of the school curriculum.
It had also asked the states, which have not formulated the Road Safety Policy, to frame it by January 31, 2018 and implement it "with all due earnestness and seriousness".
The court is hearing a petition filed by Coimbatore-based surgeon S Rajaseekaran which was treated as a PIL by the apex court.
The apex court had on April 22, 2014, constituted a committee on road safety, headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice K S Radhakrishnan, which has submitted several reports in the court.

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First Published: Feb 27 2019 | 8:05 PM IST

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