Supreme Court bats for hit-and-run accident victims

  1. The Supreme Court has called for a “secured and fool proof” method of distribution compensation to victims of hit and run cases.
  2. Recently, the Supreme Court had accepted court appointed committee’s recommendation to increase the minimum compensation for death in a hit-and-run case from the existing Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh. The Supreme Court had constituted the committee headed by Justice Radhakrishnan in 2014.
  3. The Court observed that the present amount of compensation inadequate and the law should be amended to enhance the amount. It directed the Centre and General Insurance Council to frame a scheme of payment of compensation to ensure that the amount is paid to the right claimant till the law is amended.
  4. The General Insurance (GI) Council is a part of the Insurance Association of India. It regulates the growth of the general insurance industry and maintains customer service. It was established under the Indian Insurance Act 1938.
  5. In ‘Hit & Run’ cases, accident victims are eligible for compensation through a Special Fund constituted in terms of Section 163 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 called ‘Solatium Fund’.
  6. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017 which seeks to amend Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 has been passed in Lok Sabha but is pending in Rajya Sabha. The bill calls for Rs 2 lakh or more to the victim’s family as compensation for deaths in hit-and-run cases. It also calls for establishing a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.