CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court has held that the Motor Vehicles Act is a piece of welfare legislation and a liberal approach is required while dealing with matters under this statute.
The court also held that a delay in registration of an FIR in such cases is insignificant — while this factor may be relevant during a criminal trial, it cannot be given much weightage in proceedings for determining compensation under the Act. “An FIR is often lodged in a hurry and it may not contain the minute and precise details of the incident. The FIR can be registered by a person who may not be an eye-witness. It is only during investigation of the case that the police can come to know about the culprit/criminal, who had committed the crime. Merely for the reason that the accused had not been named in the FIR does not result in causing any dent to the prosecution story,” the HC observed.
Justice HS Madaan of the HC has passed these orders while disposing of a petition filed by Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Company Ltd against the compensation awarded by a Palwal-based court for the death of a resident of Palwal district in a vehicle accident. In this case, one Bansi Lal, 26, a resident of Bhiduki village in Haryana had died on October 10, 2015 due to rash and negligent driving by one Gajraj Singh. The family of the deceased filed a claim petition against the driver of the vehicle. Hearing their plea, a claim tribunal in its order of September 4, 2017 ordered the insurance company to pay a compensation of Rs 30,88,172.
Aggrieved by this, the insurance company had approached the HC. A separate petition was also filed by the deceased’s family seeking enhancement of compensation.
“It has to be kept in mind that the Motor Vehicles Act is a piece of welfare legislation and its purpose is to provide prompt compensation to the persons suffering injuries in a motor vehicular accident or to family members of such persons unfortunately dying in such road mishaps,” Justice HS Madaan said.