CHENNAI: A division Bench of Madras High Court has directed the lower courts to deposit the compensation sums directly into the bank accounts of the victims/beneficiaries. This is to plug ‘leakages’ of compensation by advocates and others, the Bench says.
The timely and much-needed directive will curb the illegal practice by some lawyers and middlemen of ‘swindling’ a major part of the compensation sums without the knowledge of mostly illiterate beneficiaries, the court says.
The Bench of Justices V Ramasubramanian and T Mathivanan issued the directive recently while passing orders on an appeal from the Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Company Limited challenging the orders of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal-II, Chennai awarding on February 4, 2015 a compensation of `91.72 lakh to the wife and the parents of a 29-year-old man, who was drawing a salary of `65,000 a month, at the time of his fatal accident.
The youth driving a two-wheeler died on the spot when he was hit by a lorry on Medavakkam High Road on October 12, 2013. The insurance company’s counsel N Vijayaraghavan contended that the award was fanciful.
The Bench reduced the award to `82 lakh because of a wrong calculation by the tribunal of deducting for income-tax. In a game changing decision, the Bench directed the insurance company to e-transfer the sum to the tribunal, which in turn was to deposit it in the bank accounts of the claimants.
Now that technology allowed e-transactions, direct benefit/bank transfer (DBT) could be done. Such DBT would avoid middlemen and interlopers. It would enable the claimants to get the full compensation and have full control on the sum and disburse the legal costs and other related expenses from a position of strength.
The claimants need not open new accounts, if they already have one. This practice could be extended to land acquisition and other cases involving huge sums, the Bench said.