CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has constituted an expert committee, headed by Justice K Chandru, a retired judge, to eliminate the menace of multiple claims for compensation for one and same accident.
“Legal work started off as a service, metamorphosed into a profession and is now a trade,” lamented Justice R Banumathi in 2004. Now in 2018, “the profession of law has become a cut-throat competition”, observed Justice P N Prakash on Thursday.
What made the judge to observe this?
A motor accident occurred on February 9, 2017, in which one Mohan died. His son Kapilraj gave a complaint to police stating that when his father was proceeding towards Poonamallee on his bike he dashed against a stationary vehicle parked without parking lights on and thereby, suffered injuries on his head and succumbed to injuries at a hospital on February 13. Kapilraj lodged a complaint with Somangalam police on February 14 and a case was registered under Sections 279 and 304-A of IPC as a ‘hit and run’ case.
However, three different advocates filed three claims, two before the motor accidents tribunal in Chennai and the third one before a court in Tiruvallur. The facts of the case were also twisted to suit their claims. They all claimed that a lorry bearing a particular registration number was involved in the accidents. The Cholamandalam Insurance company, the insurer of the ‘bogus’ vehicle, brought all this to the notice of the judge, who ordered a probe by CB CID on April 27 last. The CB CID filed a preliminary probe report on June 6 last confirming the allegations of the insurance company.
When the matter came up finally on Thursday, Justice Prakash felt that it is desirable that an expert body be appointed by the court. Appointing accordingly, the judge said the panel should examine if duplicate claims in respect of the same accident are a widespread phenomenon in this State, to suggest means of securing better access to information regarding motor accidents by automatic uploading of information regarding registration of FIRs and all relevant records that will have a bearing on the consideration of claims before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunals.
The body is appointed to suggest ways to promote settlement culture in responses of insurance companies towards claims for compensation arising out of motor accidents; to devise ways of elimination of middlemen and ensure in-built mechanism for making the compensation easily available to the family of the victim of a road accident; to suggest proforma for application that could help the tribunals to elicit the requisite details for processing claims with minimal needs for oral evidence and to prepare templates for shorter judgments and quicker disposal.
3 erring lawyers
The judge directed the Bar Council to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the three lawyers for professional misconduct. He observed that all these thespians in this sordid episode could also be pulled up for criminal contempt