Amend motor vehicle rules to compensate victims, SC asks states

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered all states to amend their rules under the Motor Vehicles Act whereby uninsured motor vehicles involved in accidents, both fatal and non-fatal, will be auctioned and the proceeds deposited with the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) to pay compensation to victims.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directed the states to amend their rules within 12 weeks.

At present, this rule is there only in Delhi.

The court was hearing a plea by an accident victim’s wife who contended that the Motor Vehicles Act made third-party insurance mandatory for vehicles and it was an offence to drive an uninsured vehicle.

Advocate Radhika Gautam, appearing for petitioner Usha Devi, said that the mandate behind the law was that the family of those killed or injured in accidents should not be made to litigate for years to get compensation from the owner/driver of the involved vehicle.

The Act intended that the kin of those killed or injured could approach MACT for speedy adjudication of claims and direction to insurance companies to pay up, the plea said.

Devi’s husband was killed in a road accident in January 2015 while her son was injured. She moved the MACT to seek compensation, but the tribunal found that the rogue vehicle was uninsured.

Devi then moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court and sought to make the State a party to her claims proceedings, but it rejected her plea. She approached the apex court against the High Court order.