New ruling on compensation offers ray of hope for accident victims' families

New ruling on compensation offers ray of hope for accident victims

Submitted by Editor on Fri, 2016-02-05 19:20 Bengaluru: Every year hundreds of people are killed or injured in accidents involving government-run buses, but state transport corporations get away from the responsibility of providing relief to victims and their families saying insurance companies would pay up. But a new ruling gives victims' families a ray of hope. In a 2011 case of an accident involving a NWKSRTC bus, the Uttar Kannada district Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has said that compensation under the Accident Relief Fund and remedies under the Motor Vehicles Act are independent of each other, and the transport corporation cannot deny accident relief to the victims. The forum ordered the managing director of Hubli-headquartered North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) and the divisional controller of NWKSRTC- Haveri to pay Rs 50,000 each under the Accident Relief Fund to the heirs of those who died in the accident. Sirsi residents Premanand Mukund Jannu, his wife Roopa, daughter Poorvi and Mukund Jannu and his wife Sashikala were travelling in a car from Sirsi to attend a marriage in Harapanahalli when their  vehicle was hit by a speeding NWKRTC bus on the Hangal-Haveri road.  Roopa, Shashikala and Poorvi died on the spot. Though the case was referred to the court, the families of the victims also knocked the doors of NWKRTC seeking compensation under the corporation’s Accident Relief Fund. However, the corporation rejected the plea saying the court would announce compensation as per the insurance rules. Later,  when Premanand and Mukund Jannu approached the consumer forum, the NWKRTC said the Accident Relief fund was to provide immediate remedy to victims of a road traffic accident.  It said the main objective of the fund was to provide immediate relief to the kin of an accident victim. The corporation also pointed out that the petitioners had already received  compensation under the  Motor Vehicles Act  by approaching the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal (MACT) in Sirsi. The corporation argued that since the petitioners have already received compensation under the MV Act, they cannot claim benefit under the Accidental Relief Fund.  However, the forum directed NWKRTC to pay Rs 50,000 each in the name of all the three deceased, saying the two remedies are independent of each other.