CUTTACK: A PIL in the Orissa High Court has challenged the time limit of six months from the date of accident for filing of application for compensation by victims under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019.The petitioner Ananga Kumar Otta of Badchana area in Jajpur district has sought quashing of the restriction without any relaxation introduced in the Act which came into force with the assent of President of India on August 9, 2019.
Previously, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 had provided limitation of a period of six months for filing a claim petition. It also provided that the Claims Tribunal may entertain the application after the expiry of the period of six months but not later than 12 months. But the amended Act took away the authority of the Claims Tribunal to entertain an application filed after six months even if it is established that the applicant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing it in time.
“The amendment seems to be thoroughly illogical and unacceptable. The right of the victim of road accident to get the compensation cannot be said as a bounty. Such right gets crystallised no sooner the accident takes place,” Otta contended in his petition.
The new Act, based on the recommendations of the Group of Transport Ministers of States, aims to deter people from violating traffic rules and introduced heavy fines for drunken driving, driving without licence, dangerous driving, over-speeding etc. The Act has also extended the period for renewal of driving licences from one month to one year after the date of expiry.
The Act promises to protect those people, who render emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim of an accident, from any civil or criminal liability.
The minimum compensation for death or grievous injury due to hit and run has been moved up substantially.“
But then by the amendment in the principal Act, so far as completely abrogating the authority of the Claims Tribunal to entertain an application for compensation beyond six months from the date of accident seems to have devastating effect of taking away the nature of benevolence of the statute towards the accident victims,” the petitioner stated.