Madras High Court– Disposing of an appeal wherein the quantum of compensation awarded by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, (Subordinate Judge) was challenged by the appellant, the division bench comprising of R. Sudhakar J and S.Vaidyanathan modified the order of the Tribunal and lowered the compensation amount awarded from Rs 64,86,620 to Rs 57,28,000. Expressing grave concern, the bench also highlighted that victims/dependants are unable to realize the fruit of judicial decisions granting “just compensation” for years together because the compensation cheques have to pass through various sieves known and unknown and ultimately do not reach the victims/claimants in full measure. The Court further noted that this process consumes a lot of time and leads to delay in disbursal of the award amount.
Addressing to the difficulty faced by victims/claimants where they have to open bank accounts at a different place outside their jurisdiction only for the purpose of realizing the proceeds of the claims tribunal, the Court directed that the victims/claimants can be asked to furnish bank account and PAN Card details so that the compensation could be deposited in the existing bank accounts of the victims/claimants in their own territory through Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) or National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT). The Court issued directions to be followed with regard to the procedure before passing award, procedure after passing award, some of which are:
- If the victims/claimants do not have Pan Cards, the Tribunal shall try advising them on the importance of having one to avoid higher tax deduction at source for their own benefit before conclusion of trial. For this purpose, District Legal Services Authorities and Taluk Legal Services Authorities can facilitate and provide assistance.
- The Tribunals should verify and confirm if the victim/claimant has an Aadhaar card and if there is one, they should mark a self-attested copy of it, the bench said.
- In case of minor claimants, Tribunals should verify the bank account details, obtain the same, mark them and specify the name of the guardian, the bench said.
- After passing the award, the Tribunals should direct insurance firms, transport corporations or such other entities held liable to pay the compensation, to deposit the amount to accounts of the Claims Tribunal directly by NEFT or RTGS mode.
- Registry should issue appropriate directions, enabling the respective Tribunals or district courts concerned to open separate accounts, bearing a suffix ‘MACT’, to identify it in relation to motor accident claims.
[Oriental Insurance Company Ltd., Kannur v. Rajesh, 2016 SCC OnLine Mad 1913, decided on 11.03.2016]