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Govt, police told to devise system to prevent uninsured vehicles

The Centre, Delhi government and Delhi police have been asked by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) to devise a mechanism to ensure that uninsured vehicles do not ply on roads, observing that it becomes difficult for accident victims to get compensation.

The tribunal said mere prosecution of owners of offending vehicles for driving without insurance under the Motor Vehicles Act was “insufficient to alleviate the suffering of victims” and laid the responsibility on the State to ensure that uninsured vehicles are not permitted to be plied.

MACT presiding officer Anoop Kumar Mendiratta made the observations while awarding Rs 14.2 lakh compensation to 63-year-old Tulsi Ram, a hawker, who was hit by a rashly-driven autorickshaw at Paharganj bridge in July 2009 while he was riding a bicycle. He became 100 per cent disabled after the accident. The victim told the tribunal that before his accident, he was earning Rs 7,000 per month and was now confined to bed.

The auto driver and the owner had balmed the victim’s old age and claimed that he was negligent as he lost balance. They said he came in front of the autorickshaw, which led to the accident.

The tribunal, however, said: “Considering the fact that rash and negligent driving is to be assessed on the basis of touchstone of preponderance of probability and a holistic view is to be taken, it has been proved on record that the accident had been caused due to rash and negligent driving of the offending vehicle by respondent number 1 (auto driver).” 

It said that recovery of compensation from the owner or driver of the uninsured auto-rickshaw was beset with difficulties, and the rehabilitation of the victim cannot be overlooked.

The MACT directed Delhi Legal Services Authority to consider grant of compensation to the victim under Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme for his rehabilitation. 

It also said there was an alarming increase in number of accidents where the offending vehicles were uninsured making it difficult for victims to get compensation.

“A copy of this order [is to] be accordingly sent to Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Commissioner of Police, Delhi for compliance and action taken report be filed within four weeks,” the tribunal said.

“Considering the plight of victims of motor vehicular accidents, one cannot be a mute spectator and some online mechanism needs to be evolved to ensure that the uninsured vehicles which are registered with the respective transport authorities get reflected in case of non-renewal of insurance policy within the stipulated period and are not permitted to ply on the roads without the insurance cover,” the order said.

The MACT order said a software be developed with centralised server connecting the transport authorities with which the vehicles are registered, with access to all insurance firms and the prosecuting agency, Delhi Police.
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