MOTOR ACCIDENTS LAWS

In 1988 a new Motor Vehicle Act have been introduced and in new Motor Vehicle Act’s Chapter 10 provides for interim award. Chapter 11 provides for insurance of motor vehicle against third party risk and Chapter 12 provides for the constitution of Claims Tribunal and adjudication of claim and related matters. This law is still in an era of serious changes. Supreme Court has number of times held that this is a welfare legislation and the interpretation of provision of law is required to be made so as to help the victim. In this process Supreme Court has passed various judgments in recent past, which have restricted the statutory defenses to the Insurance Company to a greater extent as law relating to burden of proof have been totally changed. Limited defenses as to not holding valid driving license, use of vehicle for hire and reward, use of transport vehicle for the purpose not allowed by permit are required to be proved in so stringent manner that insurer are not getting advantage of these defenses.

Scheme of chapter 10 and 11 of the Motor Vehicle Act

Chapter 10 with Sections 140 to 144 provides for interim compensation on ‘No Fault’ Basis. According to this provision Rs. 50,000/- is to be given to the kith and kin of the deceased and Rs. 25,000/- to the grievously injured victim. The compensation under Section 140 is made payable if prima facie evidence of following is available;
(1) Accident by the offending vehicle;
(2) Offending vehicle being insured;
(3) Death or grievous injuries have been caused.

Unlike to main claim petition, negligence is not required to be proved and this compensation is not refundable even if negligence is not proved in the main claim application. Under Chapter 10 for interim award insurer is not even permitted to raise any defence relating to negligence of applicant or permitted under Section 149 of Motor Vehicle Act. But, if ultimately it is held that insurer is not liable to pay compensation victims can receive it from owner.

Chapter 11 (Section 145 to 164) provides for compulsory third party insurance, which is required to be taken by every vehicle owner. It has been specified in Section 146(1) that no person shall use or allow using a motor vehicle in public place unless there is in force a policy of insurance complying with the requirement of this chapter. Section 147 provides for the requirement of policy and limit of liability. Every vehicle owner is required to take a policy covering against any liability which may be incurred by him in respect of death or bodily injury including owner of goods or his authorized representative carried in the vehicle or damage to the property of third party and also death or bodily injury to any passenger of a public service vehicle. According to this section the policy not require covering the liability of death or injuries arising to the employees in the course of employment except to the extent of liability under Workmen Compensation Act. Under Section 149 the insurer have been statutorily liable to satisfy the judgment and award against the person insured in respect of third party risk. 

Defenses given to insurance companies

1)Use of vehicle for hire and reward not permit to ply such vehicle.
2) For organizing racing and speed testing;
3) Use of transport vehicle not allowed by permit.
4) Driver not holding valid driving license or have been disqualified for holding such license.
5) Policy taken is void as the same is obtained by non-disclosure of material fact.

Unlike to main claim petition, negligence is not required to be proved and this compensation is not refundable even if negligence is not proved in the main claim application. Under Chapter 10 for interim award insurer is not even permitted to raise any defence relating to negligence of applicant or permitted under Section 149 of Motor Vehicle Act. But, if ultimately it is held that insurer is not liable to pay compensation victims can receive it from owner.

Chapter 11 (Section 145 to 164) provides for compulsory third party insurance, which is required to be taken by every vehicle owner. It has been specified in Section 146(1) that no person shall use or allow using a motor vehicle in public place unless there is in force a policy of insurance complying with the requirement of this chapter. Section 147 provides for the requirement of policy and limit of liability. Every vehicle owner is required to take a policy covering against any liability which may be incurred by him in respect of death or bodily injury including owner of goods or his authorized representative carried in the vehicle or damage to the property of third party and also death or bodily injury to any passenger of a public service vehicle. According to this section the policy not require covering the liability of death or injuries arising to the employees in the course of employment except to the extent of liability under Workmen Compensation Act. Under Section 149 the insurer have been statutorily liable to satisfy the judgment and award against the person insured in respect of third party risk. 

Things to do in case of a road accident (Section 132 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988)


It is the driver’s duty to stop his vehicle and wait for a police officer for some reasonable time when he is involved in a road accident and injures any person, animal or causes damage to any other car or property.

The driver of the vehicle should not panic and he should give his name and address to the person affected by the accident and also ask for the affected person’s details.

Generally people run away from such situations mainly due to fear of public harassment, violence and criminal record. There is a possibility that people may own up to their fault but because of rampant bribery culture they think that it is safer to run away than fact potential harassment and loot by the police.

There have been many accidents in which because of celebrity limelight and monetary stronghold the matter has been suppressed and not faced any serious implications in the eyes of law. The Aston Martin hit and run case is one of those cases where the eye witness gave the statement that a young man (MukeshAmbani’s son Akash Ambani) came out of the Aston Martin Rapid and hopped into security vehicle after hitting a Hyundai car and then ramming into an Audi showroom but the next day an old employee of Reliance Industries, Mr. BansilalJoshi said he was responsible for the accident which occurred during a routine maintenance ride of the said car. He said that he panicked so he ran away. The police recorded his report but did not arrest him as they were not sure about who was the actual culprit.

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