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‘Can’t vehicles be insured for lifetime?’ HC asks Irda

“It should be everybody’s endeavour to prevent accidents and ply vehicles on the road with relevant insurance coverage and to see that the accident claim awards are paid in time easily without any problem to victims of road accidents,” Justice N Kirubakaran said.

He stated this while passing interim orders on an appeal by Oriental Insurance Company Limited, Third party claims Cell, Thiruvallur, challenging the judgment of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Subordinate Judge, Ponneri.

The matter pertains to an accident on January 30, 2012 in Ponneri in which a motorbike was hit from the rear by a tanker lorry, resulting in injuries to the rider, requiring 17 days hospitalisation.

Doctors assessed his disability at 65 per cent but the Tribunal, considering the nature of injuries, fixed it at 45 per cent and awarded Rs 2,24,500 against his claim for Rs 3 lakh. The insurance firm challenged it, stating there was no insurance coverage as on date of accident to the lorry, which expired on November 17 2011. It occurred only on January 30, 2012 and therefore liability should not have been ‘fastened’ on them.

Justice Kirubakaran while granting conditional interim stay, directed the firm to deposit the award by the Tribunal within two weeks together with interest to the credit of the related case and also warned that failure to deposit it would result in automatically vacating the stay. “In the absence of any mechanism to verify the existence of the policy, it is appropriate to make owners of vehicles pay the amount for lifetime insurance coverage in the interest of the general public,” he said.

The Judge impleaded suo motu IRDA, Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Ministry of Road and Surface Transport, State Secretary Transport Department, DGP as respondents and issued notice to reply to 10 queries including number of vehicles registered in India, how many have not renewed policies and whether it was a fact that almost one third vehicles do not have subsisting mandatory act policies.
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