Report No. 85
6.3. Duty to give information.-
The Committee appointed some time ago by the Government of India (in the Ministry of Law) to examine the question of legal aid and advice available to the weaker sections of the community1 had occasion to discuss why remedies are not availed of in the case of a large number of victims of accidents arising from the use of motor vehicles. The Committee suggested that people should be made aware of the right to claim compensation and to approach the Claims Tribunal for the purpose. The Committee has observed that "one other radical and yet simple stratagem. Can be adopted for the purpose of removing the handicap arising from legal unawareness". After referring to the procedure being followed in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Committee recommended that a duty should be cast on the Police Officer and the Doctor to submit details of the accident to the Claims Tribunal. We quote below the relevant pasage from the Report of the Committee:
"7.04. Whenever there is an accident arising out of the use of a motor vehicle, it would ordinarily almost invariably be reported to the police and where any person is injured, he would ordinarily be taken to a hospital except where the injury is of a minor character. It may, therefore, be provided that whenever an accident is reported at a police station, the police should be required, legislatively or by administrative instructions, to note down in a printed proforma supplied to the police station by the State Government or the State Board, various particulars in regard to the accident, such as the name and address of the injured person and where the injury has resulted in death, the name and address of the deceased as also the names and addresses of his dependents, the number of the motor vehicle involved in the accident, the name of the driver, if available, the place and time of the accident and the details of the manner in which the accident took place.
The police should immediately take steps to find out from the records of the registering authority the name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle and the name of the insurance company with which the motor vehicle is insured and incorporate these particulars in the printed proforma. The police should then forward the printed proforma to the Claims Tribunal having jurisdiction over the area where the accident took place. Where an injured person or a deceased is brought to a Primary Health Centre or a Hospital, private, municipal or Government owned, the officer incharge must also fill in a similar printed proforma after gathering particulars from the injured person or the relatives of the deceased accompanying the body and forward it to the Claims Tribunal.
The Registrar of the Claims Tribunal should then get in touch with the police station having jurisdiction over the place of the accident and require the police to obtain and furnish the name and address of the motor vehicle owner and the name of the insurance company. We should suggest that the police and the hospital authorities should be laid under an obligation not only to gather the requisite particulars and fill in the printed proforma and forward it to the Claims Tribunal but also inform the injured person or the relatives of the deceased that they are entitled to file a compensation claim before a particular Claims Tribunal and also hand over to them written intimation to that effect. The Claims Tribunal, on receipt of the printed proforma, should forward it to the legal services committee attached to the Claims Tribunal and where an injured person or the dependants of the deceased come to the Claims Tribunal directly for claiming compensation, they must also be referred to the legal services committee."
1. Report on National Judicature, Equal Justice-Social Justice, (August 1977), Chapter 7, pp. 44, 45, para. 7.04.