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Report No. 85

3.28. Suggestions made by later decisions of the Supreme Court.-

Since the decision of the Supreme Court in Minu B. Mehta's case1-2 the Supreme Court has been repeatedly emphasising the need for amending the Motor Vehicles Act so as to incorporate in it the principle of "no fault liability" in regard to road accidents. In a subsequent case, 3Krishna lyer J. has observed:-

"An explosive escalation of automobile accidents, accounting for more deaths than the most deadly diseases, has become a lethal phenomenon on Indian Roads everywhere. The rural impact of this tragic development on our legislatures, courts and law enforcing agencies is insufficient, with the result that the poor who are, by and large, the casualty in most of these cases, suffer losses of life or limb and are deprived of expeditious legal remedies in the shape of reasonably quantified compensation promptly paid-and this, even after compulsory motor insurance and nationalisation of insurance business Medieval roads with treacherous dangers and total disrepair, explosive increase of heavy vehicles often terribly overloaded and without cautionary signals, reckless drivers crazy with speed and tipsy with spirituous potions, non-enforcement of traffic regulations designed for safety but offering opportunities for systematised corruption and little else and, as a cumulative effect, mounting highway accidents, demand a new dimension to the law of torts through no fault liability and processual celerity and simplicity in compensation claims cases.

Social justice, the command of the Constitution, is being violated by the State itself by neglecting road repairs, ignoring deadly overloads and contesting liability after natonalising the bulk of bus transport and the whole of general insurance business. The jurisprudence of compensation for motor accidents must develop in the direction of no-fault liability and the determination of the quantum must be liberal not niggardly, since the law values life and limb in a free country in generous scales."

The learned Judge has re-iterated this view in many cases decided later.

1. Minu B. Mehta v. Balkrishna Ramchandra Nayan, (1977) 2 SCR 886: AIR 1977 SC 1248 (1257).

2. Para. 3.27, supra.

3. Concord insurance Co. v. Nirmala Devi, (1979) 3 SCR 694: AIR 1979 SC 1666 (1667), paras. 1 and 3 (October).



Claims for Compensation under Chapter 8 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 Back




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