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Police should send accident reports to ‘tribunals or insurers in 48 hours’ for compensation claims

The Supreme Court has ordered police stations to convey accident information statements to Motor Accident Claims Tribunals and insurers within 48 hours of the road catastrophe.“The jurisdictional police station shall report the accident under Section 158(6) of the Motor Vehicle Act (Section 159 post-2019 amendment) to the tribunal and insurer within first 48 hours either over email or a dedicated website,” the Supreme Court ordered. This is a component of an assortment of eight regulations announced by the court to limit obstructions in the payment of compensations to sufferers. These objectives should be consistently followed by the police, motor accident claims tribunals, and insurers over the country.

A Bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and R. Subhash Reddy directed the Centre to start a national online program, which could be managed and obtained over the country for submission of accident reports, requests and responses to claims, etc. This would stop the pain perceived by victims when accidents occurred in areas other than their native State. The new order came on a suggestion from Narasimha Vijayaraghavan and advocate Vipin Nair, who highlighted the autonomous online platforms already in existence in Tamil Nadu and Delhi for the idea.

“Tamil Nadu and NCT of Delhi have already progressed from having email accounts for submission of accident reports by the police to the tribunal and the insurer to operating an online platform/website for submission of accident reports. These online platform/websites shall be suitably modified for submission of claimants’ application for compensation under Section 166 of the Act as well insurers’ response to the accident report or the claim petition as the case may be,” the court noted.

However, the court stated every State holding its online system would impede effective adjudication of claims.“Each State has an independent online platform for submission of accident reports, claims, and responses to claims, which will hamper efficient adjudication of claims, especially where the victim of the accident is not a resident of the State where an accident has occurred… Therefore, Central government shall develop an online platform accessible to the tribunals, police authorities and insurers throughout India,” the Supreme Court directed.

Additional Solicitor General Jayant Sud announced the government would review and report back to the court a deadline for the implementation of the online platform. The court registered a hearing on May 4 for giving more regulations in this opinion. As part of its eight regulations, the court has made specific time-frames for the judicial method involving accident claims so that victims need not have to wait, usually desperately, for financial support made by the injuries or death of a loved one, who may have been the sole bread-winner of the family.
This involves the submission of a complete accident report by the police, with documents essential for the estimate of damages, to the tribunal and the insurer within three months. The tribunal should publish summons along with the accident statement or the application for coverage, as the case may be, to the insurer by email. The insurer should respond with their proposal for settlement/response. After giving the compensation award, the court should email a verified copy to the insurer. The insurer should settle the award by straightly depositing the awarded amount into a bank account controlled by the tribunal by RTGS or NEFT.

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“For this purpose, the tribunal shall maintain a bank account and record the relevant account details along with the directions for payment to the insurer in the award itself. Each tribunal shall create an email ID peculiar to its jurisdiction for receiving the emails from the police and the insurer,” the court-ordered. Among other regulations, the court-ordered insurance companies throughout India should also generate an email ID unique to the right of each claim tribunal. These email IDs would be prominently showcased at tribunals, police stations, and the offices of the insurers for the compensation of the claimants. Likewise, these email IDs shall also be prominently publicized on the website managed by the tribunal and the insurer.

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