Supreme Court: The bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ has issued directions with respect to motor vehicle accident claims and has said that the said “directions will apply across the country so that a uniform practice is followed.”
Here are the detailed directions:
- Accident Information Report- The jurisdictional police station shall report the accident under Section 158(6) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988(Section 159 post 2019 amendment) to the tribunal and insurer within first 48 hours either over email or a dedicated website.
- B. Detailed Accident Report- Police shall collect the documents relevant to the accident and for computation of compensation and shall verify the information and documents. These documents shall form part of the Report. It shall email the Report to the tribunal and the insurer within three months. Similarly the claimants may also be permitted to email the application for compensation with supporting documents, under Section 166 to the tribunal and the insurer within the same time.
- The tribunal shall issue summons along with the Report or the application for compensation, as the case may be, to the insurer by email.
- The insurer shall email their offer for settlement/response to the Report or the application for claim to the tribunal along with proof of service on the claimants.
- After passing the award, the tribunal shall email an authenticated copy of the award to the insurer.
- The insurer shall satisfy the award by depositing the awarded amount into a bank account maintained by the tribunal by RTGS or NEFT. For this purpose the tribunal shall maintain a bank account and record the relevant account details along with the directions for payment to the insurer in the award itself.
- Each tribunal shall create an email ID peculiar to its jurisdiction for receiving the emails from the police and the insurer as mentioned above. Similarly, all insurer throughout India shall also create an email ID peculiar to the jurisdiction of each claim tribunal. These email IDs would be prominently displayed at tribunal, the police stations and the office of the insurers for the benefit of the claimants. Similarly, these email IDS shall also be prominently displayed on the website maintained by the tribunal and the insurer.
- Insurers shall appoint nodal officers for each tribunal and provide their contact details, phone and mobile phone numbers, and email address to Director Generals of State Police and the tribunals.
The Court was also of the opinion that the Central Government shall develop an online platform accessible to the tribunals, police authorities and insurers throughout India, as each State having an independent online platform for submission of accident reports, claims and responses to claims, will hamper efficient adjudication of claims, especially where the victim of the accident is not a resident of State where accident has occurred. It, however, refrained from passing any directions on the same for the time being after the ASG submitted that some more time may be required to work out the time period within which they can be implemented and the necessary infrastructure for the same created for which some more discussions are required.
The Court is due to take up the matter again after the summer break.
[Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Private Ltd. v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 418, order dated 16.03.2021]
Amicus Curiae: Mr. Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan, AC, Mr. Vipin Nair, AOR
For Petitioner(s): Ms. Meenakshi Arora,Sr. Adv.
Mr. Siddharth, AOR
Mr. Amit Kumar Agrawal, Adv.
Ms. Mamta Meghwal, Adv.
For Respondent(s): Mr. J.K. Sud, Ld. ASG
Ms. Garima Prashad, Adv.
Mr. Bhuvan Mishra, Adv.
Mr. Navanjay Mahapatra, Adv.
Ms. Sanya Sud, Adv.
Mr. Randeep Sachdeva, Adv.
Mr. Harish Nadda, Adv.
Mr. Raj Bahadur Yadav, Adv.
Mr. G.S. Makker, Adv.
Mr. B.V. Balram Das, Adv.