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Report No. 85

3.33. Two major considerations justifying no fault liability.-

It is perhaps unnecessary to set out elaborately the arguments in favour of the introduction of no fault liability. In the course of the discussion of the position elsewhere, we have already mentioned most of the arguments relevant to the subject. We have also made a reference to judicial pronouncements in India which strongly support reform of the law on the subject. However, for convenience, it may be stated that two major considerations justify the introduction of no fault liability in this particular sphere-namely, social justice and practical necessity. In a sense, social justice would be the inspiring principle of all such legislation. But here that aspect becomes of particular importance. The motor car is productive of death or bodily injury more frequently and more intensely than most other activities.

The harm that is caused by its operation is, in its magnitude and frequency, peculiar and of an extraordinary character. One could even put the rationable of the matter by stating that "fault" comes into being from the very use of the motor vehicle, and existence of fault need not be proved again separately on each individual occasion when an accident is caused by the use of the motor vehicle. In England, the Select Committee, to which the U.K. Bill proposing no fault liability was referred, considered that a motor-car on the road could properly be regarded as falling within the rule1-2 in Rylands v. Fletcher and that the obligation to compensate innocent pedestrians ought to be regarded as a duty of the motoring community as a whole, rather than of the individual motorists who cause the damage3.

1. 88 H.L. Deb., 5th Series, Col. 1046.

2. It is interesting to note that the Bill was supported by Viscount Sankey and Lord Buckmaster: 84 H.L. Deb., cols. 551, 562.

3. Cf. Douglas Payne Compensating the Accident Victim, (1960) 13 CLP 95.These are facets of social justice. In addition, there is the practical aspect. The practical necessity for reform of the law by introducing no fault principle lies in the almost insurmountable difficulties of proof that are encountered by every victim of an accident caused by a motor vehicle, when he is called upon to prove fault as a pre-condition of such liability.

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

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