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Motor Accident Claim Tribunal
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Motor Accident Claim Tribunal

What Is the Motor Vehicle Act?

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 regulates all the aspects of road transport vehicles and is enacted by the parliament of India. The Motor Vehicles Act came into force from 1 July 1989. It created a new forum named motor accidents claims tribunals which substituted civil courts to provide a cheaper and speedier remedy to the victims of an accident by motor vehicles. The suit for damages was filed with the civil court, after the payment of ad valorem court fee. However, after the provision of a new motor vehicle act, an application claiming compensation can be made to the claims tribunal without payment of ad valorem court fee.

Procedure to Follow

Section 169 empowers the claims tribunals to formulate its procedure. As the claims tribunals have all the powers equal to the HC, the tribunal may follow the procedure laid down by the Civil Procedure Code. In holding an inquiry under section 168 of the act, the claims tribunal is empowered to follow the summary procedure as it thinks fit. The intention is that the investigation should not take the shape of elaborate and long-drawn proceedings as a regular civil suit but should be concluded as much speedily as possible. The nature of inquiry should be more or less like a judicial inquiry. There can be no gain by saying that vast power exists in the claims tribunal to conclude its procedure in dealing with the claim applications. The claims tribunal has all the trappings of a court and the proceedings before it closely resembles the proceedings in a civil court.

The whole intention of the legislature is to ensure speedy disposal of the claim applications filed by the injured persons or the legal representatives of the deceased. Moreover, in case of absence of any restraining provisions, the claims tribunal has the liberty to follow any procedure that it may choose to evolve for itself as long as it is consistent with the rules of natural justice and does not contravene the provisions of law.

Tribunal Civil Court And All Trapping of Civil Court

It's a settled law that the motor Accidents claim tribunals are civil courts and also having all trappings of the civil court. The tribunal is also vested with the powers to deal with the motor accidents arising out of the use of the motor vehicles. For recovery of the number of interim award tribunals under inherent powers can pass an appropriate order to deposit the same or to protect the interest of the claimants by giving an order.

Procedure to make an Application for Compensation in the tribunal

An application for compensation is made under section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act and shall be accompanied by a court fee of Rs. 10 in the form of court-fee stamps. Following particulars are required to be provided when a Claimant files an application seeking compensation:

  1. Name and father's name of the person injured/dead (husband's name in the case of a married woman and widow).
  2. Address of the person injured/dead.
  3. Age of the person injured/dead.
  4. Occupation of the person injured/dead.
  5. Name and address of the employer of the insured/dead, if any.
  6. Monthly income of the person injured/dead.
  7. Whether the person in respect of whom compensation is claimed pay income tax (to be supported by documentary evidence)
  8. Place, date and time of the accident.
  9. Name and address of Police station in which jurisdiction the accident occurs or is registered.

Limitation Period: No application for compensation shall be entertained unless it is made within six months of the occurrence of the accident.

Appeal

An appeal against the order of the Claims Tribunal lies to the High Court and may be filed within ninety days from the date of the award. No appeal shall lie against an award if the amount in dispute in the appeal is less than 10,000 rupees.

Who can file an Application for Compensation?

An application for compensation involving the death of, or bodily injury to, persons arising out of the use of motor vehicles, can be made–
  1. by the person who has sustained the injury; o
  2. by the owner of the property; or
  3. where death has resulted from the accident, by all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased; or
  4. by any agent duly authorized by the person injured or all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased, as the case may be.

Where to File an Application for Compensation?

Every application shall be made, at the option of the claimant,
  1. To the Claims Tribunal having jurisdiction over the area in which the accident occurred or
  2. To the Claims Tribunal within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the claimant resides or carries on business or
  3. Within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the defendant resides.

In order to penalize under the provision of Motor Vehicles Act, the sentence or fine or both is imposed on the violators. Criminal Law also deals with a situation when the driver of an offending vehicle commits an accident due to the negligence on their part leading to the victim's death.

The Motor Vehicles Act provides various Rules & Regulations for the public, and it has vast importance in our society due to advancement in the industry of automobiles. If any of the rules are violated, severe punishments are imposed upon the offender. We must understand the object behind the Act and should play an important role in its implementation since we are the sole beneficiaries and violators under the Act.

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